So I’m reading a book at the moment called Remix by Lawrence Lessig. He’s featured on this blog before because I found his book ‘Free Culture’ so brilliant and you can also watch his TED talk below where he outlines some of the key points…
His new book is brilliant and no doubt this book will be as important to developing my thinking as Free Culture was.
The new emphasis is this book that is so good is his fresh concern for what message is being communicated to our young people when we call innovation and new creativity ‘piracy’! What is the effect of branding participation and new remix production as ‘illegal’ – the reality is we create a whole generation who knowingly and willingly live their cultural lives ‘against the law’! From my perspective as someone interested in education and grassroots – ‘home made’ culture, I am engaged by ideas around how we empower and equip all people and learners of all levels as collaborators and contributors and how we create a context in which people find their element – their identity – their unique contribution to the tapestry of growth and life and this seems stinted by a context in which we are simply receivers of corporately owned culture and intellectual property… Where a kid experimenting with downloaded video, or an artist deliberately re-mixing audio samples is risking prosecution. This tightly controlled climate is counter intuitive in the current landscape of creativity.
I was also struck by an article in ‘The Economist’ this week which suggested that copyright law needed a massive review because it has become a restriction on creativity and this idea coupled with Williams’ thought below on the importance of ‘every voice’ to social well being means that such restrictions on everyday home made culture are damaging to society.
This idea of societal damage is then very interesting in the ‘hug a hoody’ climate of a forth coming general election where the ‘broken youth of Britain’ idea exists across the leading parties. Does apparent ‘rebellion’ in youth culture (if that is what it is) surprise anyone when everyday creativity which is promoted and facilitated by a new multimedia landscape is restricted and these very acts of creativity often misrepresented as piracy of even terrorism!
I will blog more as I read more but i highly recommend the book and the area of study generally. Lessig is also one of the guys behind the ‘Creative commons’ movement which offers an alternative to current copyright.