When is a copy done right?

Copyrights were invented during the British Stature of Anne 1710 in order to encourage craftsmen to create prints that enlarge the value of public domain. Yet modern copyrights are mostly considered limitations; protecting the private domains of artists, brands and corporations. However, the book Remix by Lawrence Lessig discusses how upcoming online remix culture asks for a redesign of these laws, showcasing the ambiguity of user generated content by its capability of generating both piracy and added value.

Since the nature of our digital culture is considered to be based on freedom thus piracy, we see enlarging amounts of overprotecting brands, terrified of losing their value thus requesting more copyrights. A prominent example can be given by a recent claim of T-Mobile, where they tried to sue Deutsche Telekom for using the colour magenta. Afterwards there have been more claims made by T-mobile attempting to turn a common colour to their personal, branded belongings. As a response, various designers collaborated, using cultural influence to challenge the idea of a powerful brand claiming a basic print colour as their territory.

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Which brings us to the need of clearance culture; there is requisite of finding better definitions and regulations within this modern subject. Though, in Everything is a Remix by Kirby Ferguson, a striking definition is given of the corporate beliefs within copyrights: ‘We don’t mind copying as long as we are the ones doing it’. The film RIP: A Remix Manifesto acknowledges this argument by showcasing the strict copyrights of Walt Disney, while also demonstrating how some of the media company’s productions might be considered remixes or even rip-offs. Yet, the film didn’t exhibit these hard hitting facts and inquiries about Disney’s iconic movie The Lion King:

So again, we can conclude that massive capitalist corporations seem to shape society through their beliefs. Regrettably, the problem of this state of mind is that it results into an undervaluation of the profits that lie within remix culture. Expressions of ‘folk art’ should more often be considered a valuable culture generating chances instead of collateral damage. The benefits we nowadays acknowledge while looking at Vloggers should instruct brands that there are genuine advantages in losing a bit of control and appreciate the endless creativity of public performances.

As an inference to exhibit the values of remix culture, I will give an example. In this video. musician Deadmau5 gets confronted with a fan made vocal for one of his songs. As he expects his fan to lack talent, he gets blown away by the actual quality; resulting into a collaboration plus a major hit. Now let us all see the beauty of this spontaneous process and change our beliefs about this innovative form of culture.

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