Readings 4: Copyright and Creativity

Copyright vs. Creativity, when does creativity cross the line in the copyright world? When does it become wrong? This is such a huge topic, one that all artists need to be made well aware of. There are so many grey areas. In the article The Generation Divide in Copyright Morality the author brings our attention to the problem at large. “Everyone,” (the majority of 20 and 30 year olds) struggle with the moral issues of using ones work to create more work. He asks people in different generations the same questions based off of whether you thought it was right or wrong. He asked those in his audience to raise their hands if they though a scenario was wrong. Those in the “everyone” group raised their hands a lot more often than those in the younger group. This shows us that the younger generations are having no problem with the moral issue at hand. They have no problem using others work. They do not think it is wrong to take and copy a DVD for their own collections. (but it is) It is taking someone elses work, without payment of it.  Non the less, stealing it. You fear punishment if you were to take an item out of a clothing store, would you not?  So why do some people not fear taking, or copying, work from online? Is it because no one is physically watching them? Or because it is just too simple to do?

The music industry changed drastically after music was being shared and copied online without payment for it. Thanks to Napster you could download music in seconds without paying for it. I think Napster is a huge reason as to why there are so many copyright laws now. After that fiasco ended, everyone covered their behinds. In the article In Defense of Piracy Mrs. Lenz’s video of her 13 month old son had to be taken down from YouTube because Prince’s song was featured in it with out Prince’s permission. Are you serious? The way I see it is, Mrs Lenz was using YouTube as a way to spread her family video to other family members. She wasn’t making money off of it so why was it so bad? This might not have anything to do with this weeks topic but I couldn’t help but think about censorship. Ok, Mrs Lenz’s video did have Prince’s song in it, but someone in a higher position than her made her take it down. Our country and our laws could be so misconstrued sometimes. What else are we going to be told we can and can not do? Maybe that’s a little far out there to think, but it was one of the thoughts that came to my mind.

Another point I found interesting, was “We don’t focus on the creators, we focus on the pirates.” My boss at my job likes to tell me “Kristin, we don’t find fault, we find solutions.” I know it’s not the same thing but they are both touching on the positive versus the negative. People focus so much on whose fault it is, or who is doing something wrong, that we are missing the beauty in the artists work. We aren’t getting to appreciate people work because everyone is afraid of whether or not they are committing copyright crimes. If it’s not original work then it can’t be credited as creative work? Every artist and designer get inspired in different ways. Shouldn’t the original artists [i.e. Prince] be flattered that their work is influencing new artists creations? If I were Prince I would be so excited to know that my song is making a 13 month old dance. I would be happy that my work was still  making a difference in people’s lives. Mrs. Lenz will always have that memory of her son and that memory will always be connected to Prince’s song.

In the video by Lawrence Lessig, he touched on the fact that the internet is how our kids talk. This is how they create. They know no other way then using resources from the internet. Every time you use a source from the internet and you don’t cite it properly it is copyright infringement. So are our kids committing crime every single time they make something?

And finally, Amanda Palmer…WOW! I never heard of her until this class but the video we had to watch gave me goose bumps! It was so touching and so moving. It made me want to become a fan of her music and support her work. It mad me feel exactly how she wants people to feel. Her main point was, if you connect with people, people are more likely to support and help you. They won’t feel obligated to BUY your work but instead they will WANT TO pay for it.  I really liked the question she asked at the end. Instead of asking, “How do we make people pay for music?” We should be asking, “How do we LET people pay for music”. It is a great question! Instead of putting all of these constraints on people, if you can connect with people they will feel like they should be paying for your work. If you make connections with people they will feel close to you, as if they know you. I really think that Amanda Palmer has something here. More artists should listen to what she has to say.

Questions:

My questions are in my response..

1. You fear punishment if you were to take an item out of a clothing store, would you not?  So why do some people not fear taking, or copying, work from online? Is it because no one is physically watching them? Or because it is just too simple to do?

2. Our country and our laws could be so misconstrued sometimes. What else are we going to be told we can and can not do?

3.If you were an artist and someone used your work to make new art would you be upset? or flattered?

4. What do you think is going to happen when our kids are the “Everyone” group? Do you think somewhere, someway they will get morally better or morally worse?

5. I personally think Amanda Palmer is on to something. If you were a musician what is one way that you would let people purchase your music?

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