Appropriation and Remix Culture in our Technological Times

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.

NE