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.

In this article, Cory Doctorow tries to highlight the functions of what would be successful copyright law, and he proffers some good points. I like that he takes the capitalist and consumerist market economies into consideration, and focus on that for a bit.

As much as artists would love the “government will pay you 40 grand a year” scenario, it will never happen, and so copyright must exist in order to fund creativity. He points out that money and art do not have a direct correlation, that it would be better to have revenue from copyright be shared among many artists, as opposed to just one, and that copyright doesn’t deliver a free marketplace where creators or investors set a price for creative works.

I don’t believe that is entirely true: art is in a market place, perhaps, not negotiated by price, but by success, which in turn, increases revenue as if it was negotiated by price. What I mean is that even if Rihanna and her record company doesn’t charge a vast amount of money for people to listen to her new hit-single, they propel it to the top of the charts, causing the amount of people that want to listen to her to increase, which enables her to go on world tours and “float to the top in a pure and free marketplace,” helping her collect her profits.

Furthermore, he says that “money talks, and bullshit walks,” which is a fairly good label to pin on record industry executives and their investors. His argument that creators and investors are notoriously resistant to new media is one that is preventive of cultural advancement Investors possibly apply, but only until they figure out a way to manipulate the new technology in order to make higher profits. There are examples of creators being resistant as well (Metallica vs Napster), however in my opinion, on the whole creators are not only open to new media, they are the ones that spur the new media.

Art, and specifically music, is a market that churns out billions a year, and I feel like even though it’s damning to think about it this way and it’s much nicer to say, oh, art is priceless and art is sacred, the reality of the situation is that the market for art, music, and film is enormous, and it should be considered as such in terms of what the “new copyright law” should look like.