Appropriation and Remix Culture in our Technological Times

The author of the article, John Sulston, argues that IP rights have a massive significance within the realm of creation and innovation. He specifically mentions science as his area of concern, and how the essence of scientific study is becoming highly commoditized. He claims that further research cannot proceed because larger corporations restrict scientists from testing 80% of genes from patents. In mild sarcasm, he states “IP is supposedly intended to encourage inventors and the investment needed to bring their products to the clinic and marketplace.” On a moral basis, this should be true, but due to the interference of larger, more powerful companies, it becomes difficult to decipher who’s getting credit for what when new discoveries are revealed and marketed to the public.

My personal take on this matter graciously agrees with Sulston’s vision to re-purify the world of science. I guess, since the article is so one-sided, it’s hard to find/think of any counterpoints in which Sulston should take into consideration. I am not a frequent consumer of medication, but I’ve observed how a majority of the American society depends on drugs and medication to proceed with their daily lives. With this in mind, It seems the demand for medication is always constant, so the market must respond to this. There seems to be a loss of connectivity between society, and the scientific community, who are capable of making progressive discoveries when materials are affordable and plentiful.

Comparing this situation to artistic theft or appropriation, there are some similarities in Sulston’s argument that relate to the ongoing debate about the next direction of art. I believe there is a lot of credibility in having creative integrity and acknowledgement is always desired upon originality and creativity. What seems to destroy this integrity is when outside negotiations are made in order to compromise and re-essemble the original source material.

As I said before, I found this article convincing, (which it turn made me feel a bit sympathetic for future desires for scientific studies in America), but I still got the feeling that I was seeing this argument from one standpoint, in which Sulston seemed very headstrong with delivering this message clearly and concisely to the public. Although this is a different category of Copyright, it is still a relevant example to reference from when concerning Copyright from an artistic, or another perspective.

-Nicole R.

I love how he puts the remixing of videos is a way of recycling and reusing of them. I searched Oliver Laric online and watched the 787 Cliparts. It is really amazing how he animates people from different culture and with different movements. I cannot believe that is from a digital flipbook of banal stock illustrations! Now he is on my artist (animator) list now. And it is also easy to access due to the development of Internet culture. I totally agree with the over production of materials Liver Laric said in his interview. Using just the things produced from the past few hundred years can create numerous pieces of art or videos. The only problem is that there is so much provided and artists like Oliver Laric have to sniff out which things to use in their own work.

It is amazing how the economic downfall helped the development of remixed videos or movies. I totally like how old films can be used to tell new stories. Even though people try to learn from history and not make the same mistakes, history repeats itself again and again no matter what people do, just in a new form, new time and new place. The use of war documentary films can be compiled to any films that discuss war nowadays, either educational (antiwar) or for propaganda.

Not only films and movies, art work also took on this form of recycling past images and translate into new ones. My own artwork sometimes uses the same strategy and I will just call it collage, because it is similar, the use of other images in either collection or making of art.

I find Salvador Dali being immature. Seriously, some ideas can just come out and they can be similar ones even though from different people. He may have the one who had the idea earlier but he cannot stop another person using the same idea, no matter is it intentionally stolen or unintentionally similar ideas.

I like how Bruce Conner puts the use of different music to translate the same films and movies, manipulating it his own way. “When you can switch from one channel to another. Also, watching TV without sound and adding your own selection of music and other sound.” Also adding TV to the recycling and remixing of videos and movies gives more dimension and possibilities for artists to translate their own ideas in different ways. All this bloomed and exploded when the Internet culture popularized and when films, movies and images are easily accessed online, the remixing of videos and movies and reuse of images become a more accepted way of art or film making (with exception of problems of copyright).

Here’s the entire film via UbuWeb

I like the beginning of the definition of record players being an instrument and the music produced by it is unique and nothing reproduced. DJs work with their own sense of music and produce new sound and noises with using the phonograph and nobody can deny that it is creative, even though the line between creativity and uniqueness is blurred these years.

The issue of copyright is also in music making, no matter is it among the composers or the listeners. If the composer is responsible for the layers of authorship associated with his work, what about the listeners who does not realize it but still enjoys the music? Are we encouraging the trespassing of copyright or it is the other way around, the trespassing of the composers led listeners to enjoy what we think is unique music?

“…The popular intrigue of computer theft has inspired cinematic and paperback thrillers while the robbery of music is restricted to elementary poaching and blundering innocence. The plots are trivial: Disney accuses Sony of conspiring with consumers to make unauthorized mice. Former Beatle George Harrison is found guilty of an indiscretion in choosing a vaguely familiar sequence of pitches” I don’t agree with the second half of this quote about robbery of music is only of the level of blundering innocence. To say it, I personally know a lot of Chinese or English websites who “help” with the robbery of music online. Most of the music is anime music which is barely heard of outside of Japan but big hooks for anime lovers. People in this “business” buy the CD and put it on whatever social website he or she is part of and share the music online. This is above mere elementary poaching. It became a big network and part of a business that a lot of people take part of, some consciously and some may just due to curiosity or love of the music.

I like how Oswald use the reference of quotation marks. Surely plagiarism is common in writing and using quotation marks can solve the problem sometimes but this cannot be done in music whatsoever. Anyone can claim that one took part of the music from the other when they sound similar and the composer did it consciously or not is not clear. “Audio piracy” is putting the copyright situation in a more aggressive language but it makes sense.

Also Oswald talked about computer and how it removes expertise from the scene. I was watching a talk show in China and there is this girl who makes music with random sounds such as a cough or a thump and mixes these sounds using NDS, PS3, iPhone and other electronic devices. She said that there was another band that emailed her saying they had the same idea of doing music this way and which is the first really is unclear. This also reflects the change of making music effecting the issue of copyright and authorship.

This article reminded me of Joana Så’s influenced style of John Cage’s “the wonderful widow of 18 springs”. Joana Sa made a full length movie of her performing with a piano, THROUGH THIS LOOKING-GLASS, the same way John Cage did; using the piano as a percussion instrument. Though she uses the same idea that Cage did, she does so in a different expressive way; Even if they use the same idea, it is its own unique rendition. Many artists have taken John Cage’s ideas and done their own version, such as BBCs’ 4’33, Joana Sa’s multiple Cage covers, Tetsuo Kogawa’s radio pieces, and the countless youtube and vimeo John Cage covers out there.

I also think that it is kind of freaky how he humorously predicted the use of software to track down samples. Last semester a girl told the class how a video she had got flagged for copyright against a Michael Jackson song, when in fact she did not even use a song, it was an original composition.

Also, why make a sampler when it is illegal and dangerous to sample up to an extent? Its kind of like ‘why make bongs when its illegal to smoke pot?’ or even ‘why make cars go up to 70 when that’s the average speed limit in highways?’ ‘why provide the technology to rip music out from cds ?’ copyright sux