Canadian videoblogger and filmmaker Brett Gaylor’s feature documentary RiP: A remix manifesto questions whether creativity in the digital age can be considered a crime, at the same time discussing the idea of business model of existing copyright system. But what’s really the idea of illegal? And what could be profitable?
Let’s take as an example the film’s main protagonist Greg Gillis (known as Girl Talk). He is a mash-up artist who takes pieces of well known artist and copyright protected songs, creates his music and make public performances. Is it a creativity or a piracy?
Another example probably can be yourself if you have at least once downloaded a song. There is a strong battle existing in all the spheres against so called copy-paste function which somehow has become a driver of the digital age. Can we really believe to stop this process? And is it really necessary?
Anyway, two examples mentioned above could be distinguished – the production of new forms of creativity by citation of other artists and the simple use of ready art/music. Both of these forms, however, are considered a crime from the legal side and a way to have a profit from the commercial side of this issue.
The artists want to earn some money for their work, you would say to defend the common opinion on copyrights and the crime of piracy. It’s not always true, however. Because the copyrights are owned by private record companies (or other media) they can manipulate on the copyright for profit. The record companies can put you on a trial or make you to pay a lot of money just for downloading some songs. And the artists do not get anything.
Some musicians are trying to make their independent solutions of this problem. Like Radiohead who put their whole album online and fans were to decide how much to pay for downloading. Can the creativity really function using the business model? The author of RiP: A remix manifesto defends the idea of sharing of knowledge and culture in all forms. The free sharing of content in a way really represents one of the main tendencies of the digital age. And with the discoveries of new web possibilities the process common sharing is still developing and is not reversal.
The sharing of creative content can be done by putting it on a public domain and giving possibility to everybody to use it. Creative Commons is a non-profit organization who provides free, easy to use legal tools – different types of licences which define possibilities between full copyright and the public domain. So now you are to choose whether to share your creative work and in what way, and do not be dependent by default from powerful private copyright owners.
Therefore there are alternative and legal solutions on the issues of intellectual property and public domain. And in the way internet is affecting positively free speech, the same way it does on common fair use of creative content. Yet, there are still obstacles to overcome before it becomes a mainstream choice.