You can only consume culture.

But you can’t create it.

That’s what big corporations tell us. Stray off this very confined path (think Girl Talk) and you get bitch-slapped by reality in the form of copyright law infringement (which essentially costs you your first-born child, so if you love them…don’t do it). But this is LUDICROUS. The law is stifling creativity and we are currently in a war to abolish this oppression of expression. Lawrence Lessig echoes this idea throughout Remix and the same sentiments are captured in the documentary Rip: A Remix Manifesto. Are remixes and mash-ups of existing works breaking any laws though? Doesn’t it create something entirely new and inspire new meaning that the original product initially did not? Who’s to say this is illegal? Oh, right. Corporate America. Ruining all the fun again.

I don’t think this business model can survive in our current culture. We are just setting people up to become criminals. We have amazing technological innovations that allow us and give us the means to remix, mash-up, combine/cut/mutilate pieces of art and songs into new bizarrely wonderful compositions that we previously could not do and we can freely share this information, but then the law comes down on us and takes away the power we have been given. And for what? To set precedents? To remind us who is in charge of creating culture? Sounds very Hunger Games-esque…killing off one innovation at a time. And this is not only true for the music industry, but it can be applied across the board to all areas of society. As Rip: A Remix Manifesto points out, scientific research could benefit from the lessening of such tight restrictions. What if some individual in India is thiiisss close to cracking a new code in DNA sequencing, but just can’t get it right? He may spend years slaving away to get it right and never reach an answer, but if that information had been shared with another scientist halfway across the world who could combine her knowledge with what was already done to finish the sequence…couldn’t we cure cancer? Okay. Maybe a little extreme. But the point is, building off of each others ideas is a good thing…it’s critical…it’s innovative…creative…it’s human nature…it’s our culture. Why do you want to take that away from us?

Culture needs to be set free. We are just walking in a cloud of culture confusion if it is not. We need the freedom to create and we cannot do it in a vacuum, out of fear “the man” will say no. So keep breaking the law, until it’s no longer a crime. 


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