Notes on “The Ecstacy of Influence – A plagiarism” by Jonathan Lethem.
The gist of the article as I read it is: Some of the greatest art would not be possible without plagiarism. Copyright laws are there to “promote the progress of science and the useful arts” and not to protect the creator’s self-interests. Great art is by definition a gift and it cannot exist in as a commodity. It is therefore important to allow art to go into the public domain and to promote second use. While doing this it is vital for creators to acknowledge their sources and pay homage to their roots.
This article forced me to articulate some of my own thoughts on piracy and ownership. I believe that great art is measured not by any objective quality, but by the number of lives it has touched and affected. Star Wars is made great not by the directors and the film crew, but by the teenage kid who goes to Comic-Con dressed as a Wookie. Should that kid be sued for stealing copyrighted material, or monetarily compensated for advertising the franchise? If the franchise is made successful by the public, shouldn’t the public own it? In a world of digital rights management, when your entire book collection can be wiped by someone at Amazon; what does it even mean to own something?
Notes on “Embrace the Remix” by Kirby Ferguson
“If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” the quote by Issac Newton may have been meant as a quip to Hooke, but that makes it no less valid. The greatest enterprise of humanity, The Scientific Revolution is built on free sharing of ideas. The ill conceived notion of equating creative property, with physical property -which can be stolen- is detrimental to progress. I firmly believe in free sharing and open-source. It is much better to allow everyone to work on the same, shared knowledge base than to stifle progress with artificial constraints.
Notes on “Her Long Black Hair” by Janet Cardiff
The woman in the red jacket will now forever be a part of my memories of Central Park. Starting out, I was a bit skeptical about the value of the sound-walk. I am an avid podcast listener and I thought that sound alone can create a landscape in the mind. So, I listened to the sound-walk on my way to Central Park from New Jersey. The things I missed on the first listen and the experience of having a moving scenery as I listened were simply staggering! The timing of cricket noises just as I pass by a bush, the subtle reverb in sound along with architectural changes and the melding of noises to a point where I couldn’t really tell if there was someone behind me added up to an unforgettable experience. Even though I didn’t relate to the story very much I shall not forget the woman in the red jacket.