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rmeyers's picture

After watching (most of) the Remix/Manifesto movie, I found myself wondering about these ideals in relation to the literary/publishing world. I think this was probably because of the appearance of Cory Doctorow, although he only really spoke about the music side of things in this documentary. He's a 'YA' author (or not, it's just a genre a few of his books have fallen into... who knows what he'd have to say about that) whose books are now available online rather than through a publisher. John Green mentions Doctorow's new plans for publishing in his article for the School Library Journal (Doctorow "has stopped working with publishers and shares his work via a hybrid of print-on-demand books and free e-books"). The article itself is very interesting, although more related to the idea of print books going out of fashion than copyright laws.

But back to Doctorow and the Public Domain. It sounds like a great and good thing. Sharing, teaching students to think rather than 'fake-make' (tell them they are creating something new, when no one really is), collaboration, learning how to find different sides to the same story, sorting through a mess of ideas and pictures to come up with the details that matter to you. These are things the world needs more of, no doubt. But remember how young copyright is, and how new and fast the technologies are that defy copyright. Like blogs. There are bound to be some hickups in the system --but by no means should there be a 'surrender'. The public should not stand still, and people like Cory Doctorow know this. But we should also have faith that if we do something, this will change.

Is it time for all artists/creators/remixers/authors/bloggers/academics to begin new lives on the internet? What if we abandon publishers and copyright laws and each artist/creator/remixer/blogger/academic sells/shares/creates/shows-off/displays/quotes information/work/quotes/data on the internet? Maybe through a blog form, maybe a webpage. A certain amount of computer literacy would be needed (an amount I do not personally have, but that it is possible to gain). What would happen then? Is this what we want? It sounds reasonable to me, but maybe I'm missing something?

I was also fascinated by the way Brett Gaylor (director/manifesto-maker of Rip a Re-mix: A Manifesto) traced the vast amounts of money spent in copyright-action back to five or six major companies. But something he didn't mention (failed to mention? didn't have time to mention?) was if that money goes back to the artists. If it doesn't, that would be an important point for him to make, and would aid his argument. If it does, he should have talked to some artists/creators/remixers-in-their-own-right/authors/bloggers/academics about how they would feel about selling their own work or if they actually all love the copyright. I mean, we all want to hate the big-bad-corporation (believe me, I do too), but I have to ask myself if there is a side being left out here. If there is data out there documenting artists/creators/remixers-in-their-own-right/authors/bloggers/academics incomes and if that data shows that they get an insignificant amount of money from copyright, then what good is it doing? The Corporations see that this is about money, not ideas, at least not anymore. So why do they control us? Do they control us? What is actually going on here? (I seem to have thoroughly confused myself as well...)

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