Democracy, creativity and copyright law

Real democracy is a bottom-up, grassroots venture. It is through the creative force of the many, with access to technology, that the greatest innovations occur, begetting more creative energy, shared and manipulated ad infinitum. As such, democracy and creativity are indispensable partners in cultural evolution.

No where is the synergy of creativity and democracy more evident than in the cybersphere. Those of us who participate in the world wide forum of the internet, the first pan global territory that spans the world with little concern for borders, are leading edge participants in creative democracy, or democratic creativity (whichever you prefer).

Content aggregators, bloggers and online publishers are at the front of this first wave of a truly global form of democracy. We take what is out there, mash it up, add content of our own, put a pinch of this in it, a table spoon of that, and wham-o! Something totally new is made from what was already there, and ideas and emotions are freely conveyed the world over, to be further mashed up with a pinch of this and a table spoon of that.

We do it for the love of it, and hopefully inspire more creativity in those whom our messages reach.

So what’s stopping us from changing the world, and making it a better, more interesting and informed place? Copyright law. Chances are extremely good that if you have ever posted anything online, whether on a blog or on your Facebook account, you have violated the law and somebody’s or some corporation’s intellectual property rights.

Copyright law, as it presently exists, acts as a grand prohibitor, a top-down injunction against real democracy as it is expressed by millions in the cybersphere. How are we to get around it, and keep doing what we love without worrying about receiving a “Cease and Desist” letter from the law firm of Doem, Cheetham and Howe?

Cyber lawyer, Larry Lessig, explains this modern problem and comes up with an innovative solution that will keep the tap open for democracy and creativity, with the potential to make the world a better place to be in.

You’ll love the mashed up videos of Wolverine, Jesus Christ singing “I Will Survive,” and George W. Bush and Tony Blair singing a love duet.

Irony department: Posting this TED video may be a copyright violation.

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Posted by on November 12, 2010. Filed under Commentary. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
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4 Responses to Democracy, creativity and copyright law

  1. Stimpson

    November 12, 2010 at 2:25 pm

    I suppose the major obstacle to copyright law reform is the obstinance of copyright-rich corporations such as Disney and Viacom. Those companies likely will continue opposing anything that has the slightest negative impact on their ability to squeeze out more profit from the works of creative people, living and dead.

    • C.H. McDermott

      November 12, 2010 at 3:53 pm

      You know it. The powers that be have a vested interest in bucking reality.

  2. Holte Ender

    November 12, 2010 at 4:14 pm

    Steal, but attribute, borrow, but give back, when stolen from, feel justified. There is nothing new under the sun, everything is rehash, all good blues songs only have 3 chords, usually the same 3 chords. TED is an uplifting organization. An uplifting post.

    Copyright Holte Ender 2010 All rights reserved. No trespassing.

  3. A Michael J. Scott

    November 13, 2010 at 1:13 pm

    Mr. McDermott this was great. I learned a lot. Regardless the editorial staff at MMA will continue to aggregate, copy, paste, steal and plagiarize. Go in peace.

    All rights reserved.