Copyright or Copy, right?

There’s been a lot of talk lately about copyrights and how extensive they can be. That they restrict ‘New Media’ artists from expressing themselves and I have a strong, blunt opinion on this subject.

But I don’t know what it is.

Let me explain: By and large I tend to dismiss a lot of New Media artists on the basis that learning to do a lot of artistic things like writing, playing an instrument, or drawing, is not difficult, it just takes time and work. You too can learn to draw as poorly as me if you put as much time in as I have. Though if you have more talent (or hell any talent let’s face it) you’ll probably end up better than me. Same with writing, making music, dancing, cooking, however you want to express yourself. The more you work, the more you study, the more you practice and the better you will be. And I’m not particularly willing to ‘Open up my mind’ to those who aren’t willing to do that work. It takes time and effort but anyone can master the basics of nearly any craft.

With that said I must point out that very few have genius. Very few have innate talent wherein a given skill comes easily. And I often think people want it to come easily. And the worst part is some who want it to come easily might have that innate talent. That innate genius. Might be the above and the beyond.

But before now to become proficient at any single discipline required the work. And the work comes before the genius. Very few talented musicians began by playing well. They began by playing poorly and gradually getting better until such point that their talent exploded from them and became obvious. It wasn’t enough to have potential, to have a good ear for music, you had to put the work in to develop that potential, to point that ear.

How does that tie in with copyright and the struggle to open it up? A worry on my part that those burgeoning geniuses (Genii? Huh) will never have their talent explode out in waves. They might never learn the basics and always struggle to master them, and often not even bother because someone else has already done that work. You need a great guitar solo? You could spend twenty years mastering the guitar and accessing the electrical talent deep within you and get a great guitar solo. Or you can press a button and take someone else’s. And I’m not arguing the morality of that action, I’m saying I worry we might lose that genius. That talent. That something new and different.

Influenced by the past, educated by the past, but special to that person.

However, on the other side are those who want to copyright everything. The ones who want even little pieces of a major work to be owned. As in someone once used a phrase and now owns that phrase. Or someone drummed a certain way and now you cannot drum like that. A certain way to hold your pencil. A certain way to sing. A chorus that sounds similar to another chorus. Some of these people want to grant ownership and it’s as ridiculous as Paris Hilton trying to copyright the phrase; “That’s Hot.’ as if it was her invention. Her creation. A common phrase made more famous.

Which reminds me, I’ve been saying ‘Cool’ for years. You all owe me money.

So what kind of solution do I see for this conflict?

Cage match.

Or some reasonable, and clear legislation that states exactly what can and cannot be owned in terms of intellectual property, with input from all sides and an acknowledgement from all sides that the current system does need some tweaking.

But I’d prefer a cage match.

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