The law is a Kookaburra

February 6, 2010 § 1 Comment

I’m of course paraphrasing “The Law is an Ass” and assuming the expression is in the public domain!

Brett Gaylor’s recent documentary rip! A Remix Manifesto raises some interesting issues in an age where someone’s “intellectual property” can be quoted or morphed with the simple click of a mouse.

The film’s idea of a “remixer’s manifesto” cleverly sums up the clash between creativity and the proprietorial control over ideas.  It says,

1. Culture always builds on the past.

2. The past always tries to control the future.

3. Our future is becoming less free.

4. To build free societies you must limit control of the past.

To many this may sound anarchic and could end civilization as we know it.

A classic example of applying outdated rules of law to contemporary society was in the famous case fought in the early 70s by the now renowned QC Geoffrey Robertson for the publishers of Oz magazine in London.  Charged with “Conspiracy to corrupt public morals” a British law dating from the late 19th century, the publishers could have faced up to 20 years for their “obscene publication”.  Robertson was able to show that society had changed since the days those laws were made, and they were acquitted.  The world continued to turn and civilization did not end.

Surely copyright law also needs to move with the times.

Click here for the link to RiP! A Remix Manifesto where you can actually watch the film here and make mashups of it yourself.  A sort of web 2.0 documentary/online conversation.

Copyright and the web

March 26, 2009 § Leave a comment

Serious Concerns by Wendy Cope

I heard a radio programme on the ‘net today about poet Wendy Cope.  Her poetry so charmed me, I immediately wanted to share it with others.

So I searched the net, and came across this article by her from the Guardian about copyright.

So, taking her advice about copyright and artists, if you’re interested too, I suggest you visit the page where she reads her poems aloud or visit the ABC radio national webpage where you can listen to her read her beautiful work.

If you like her work and think others might like it too, support this living artist and buy one of her books.

Being a well meaning soul who likes to share things with others, I feel somewhat chastened by her words.  Being a performing artist I’m grateful to her for reminding me about the need to be respectful towards the intellectual property of others.

That said, check her out.  She’s brilliant!  Her witty aphorisms on love lost, unrequited, unrealised made me laugh and cry at the same time.  You can hear these near the beginning of the programme on the ABC radio national website.

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