One of the biggest impacts the internet has had on creativity and business is the expanding discussion of copyright. “Chuck Olsen”:http://www.mnstories.com/archives/2006/05/negativlands_ma.html got me thinking about this when he posted this video interview with Mark Hosler of “Negativeland”:http://www.mnstories.com/archives/2006/05/negativlandland.html. Mark has helped CC develop “Sampling”: licenses which allow us to do what many want to do naturally – hum another’s tune for a few bars, make a collage from magazines, etc. and then be able to sell that should a buyer come along, without having to go back and pay the “original” creator.
It seems much of discussion sorts people into two groups: the big (bad) corporations and the small (good) artists. I am going to sort by the spiritual versus the psychological perspective.
From the spiritual perspective, we own nothing and it all comes to us/through us from somewhere. If we lived exclusively in this world, everything would be free and there would be free-flowing transmission of ideas and compensation, and no one would live at another’s expense. I believe we are spiritual beings and all of this is true at the core. In the spirit world, there is no “matter” though so we do not face the daily challenges of food and shelter, nor do we create actual works. Everything is unlimited. However, we have chosen to incarnate.
So that means we are also psychological/physical beings, which is to acknowledge that we live in a world defined in part by limits and boundaries. (My soul might be capable of anything, but I still have to get on a plane or boat if I am going to attend “Vloggercom”:http://www.vloggercon.com/.)
Mark’s arguments are very appealing to me, as he embraces without fear this unbridled freedom that is an aspect to our spiritual nature. But it has been my experience that those who want money and power will do whatever it takes to get more of the same. They seem to have an advantage at managing the limits and boundaries. Having copyright restrictions can protect the solo artist against those who would reap benefit “illicitly.” Mark seems to have a strong opinion against corporations and has helped develop a CC license that allows sampling for all but re-use in advertising. I think this is an improvement but advertising per se is not “bad” it is just that it has been used so overbearingly. And he is selling works that are created from others’ works, without sampling licenses granted, not to mention advertising them on a web site.
I believe both the spiritual and the psychological/physical perspectives are real and true. But knowing when one applies vs. the other is the tricky part. The spiritual realm creates an amazing sense of freedom to do as we please. The psychological/physical realm creates consequences that can inform our future choices. I would really like to live as if none of this matters yet I am afraid to be taken advantage of and I want to have the money to live comfortably. I want to live my life with as few discrepancies as possible.
A copyright serves notice that people cannot use the “stuff I created” without asking first. In a way it is common courtesy. However people can view a copyright notice not as a closed door, but instead an opportunity to start a conversation. At least with me that is. The copyright simply says, let’s talk first. We may even be able to help each other get more of what we want. (I have out takes and you might have a network…)
If I don’t really own any of it because it came to me from the great divine, then it is a free for all. Which might not be bad. You make something from anything, and sell it for as much as you can and each person gets to decide if they want to buy it. An intriguing idea, but I’m not yet ready to embrace it.
I have contributed a lot in the past to budding organizations, only to have the people “in charge” take my and others’ creations and literally make millions on them without compensation. This was in part my own naivete: my desire to want to collaborate without having to deal with the legal bs. Or was I wanting to play in the spiritual realm when in fact the others were playing in the psychological/physical realm? I’ve had a hard time dealing with the feelings of both being burned and stupid.
But as always, I appreciate all the thoughtful and passionate people contributing ideas.