Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Copyright vs. Copyleft...

Watching Hulu into the late hours of the night, I recently came across a documentary film by Brett Gaylor. "RiP! A Remix Manifesto" examines the issue of copyright reform in the Internet Age.

The film highlights some provocative cases such as the fate of DJs like Girl Talk who remix music and videos. One memorable narrative explores how Walt Disney actually created nearly all of his classic animated movies as derivative works - meaning they were based on pre-existing stories - and yet the Disney corporation has since prevented anybody from doing the same thing that Walt Disney did through claims of intellectual property.

Underscoring everything in the film is the central question, "Who owns our culture?". The debate is one between advocates of the "copyright" (seeking to protect entrenched business interests) versus those of the "copyleft" (who seek to protect the public domain and Fair Use).

While the film's bias towards the copyleft is pretty clear from the outset, it is nevertheless fascinating, and definitely recommended viewing for all members of the YouTube/Facebook/Napster generation.



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