Rules are rules… or are they?

With the evolution of technology, there came an evolution of music. Beginning somewhere around the time when slaves sang songs to pass the time, to the creation of recording music, and finally to what is very popular in today’s culture– remixing– and all things in between, many things have changed. One thing though, that has never changed is the fact that from the very beginning, music has been an integration of all of it’s artists’ creations. This is illegal by law, as we all know. However, the past and present have completely different meanings of what copyright laws are all about.

 

Past:

As explained by the video, when the first printing press was invented, it gave artists the ability to share their work with the world. The problem was, though, there was no way for them to receive credit or payment for it. This major issue is what caused the creation of the first copyright laws. This way, artists could get their work out there for all to enjoy, while still getting credit and payment for what they have done. To put it into much simpler terms. Copywriting was originally created to help artists. This is far from what it became in the future

 

Now:

Technology has progressed tenfold in recent years, causing a boom of electronic types of music to take the main stage. Old music is now accessed most often by internet, and new music is created by adding to or changing around the old music we access from our computers. This has created a big change in copyright laws, but maybe not for the better. In my opinion, artists and record labels have become greedy and money hungry, wanting every penny for even a snippet of their tune included in someone else’s work. Not that there is an issue with wanting credit when credit is due, but this video even argues/agrees that these laws have been manipulated from their original meaning for maximum profit.

 

Rule number one of the remix manifesto is that the future always builds from the past. Since day one ideas, whatever they may be about, have been shared and passed down, even before these laws were incorporated. To make them more strict, or to enforce them fully would mean we would all be criminals. For the best example, taken from the video, the melody “Happy Birthday” is copyrighted by Time Warner so any time you have sang it, you are breaking the law. Silly, right? What is even sillier to me is the idea that art is an expression of creativity, and these laws are supposed to keep us from being creative. They want us to create new music, but what is defined as “new”?

This documentary sides with the idea that this new type of music (remixing) is actually new music. Just as past songs have built off of even older songs, remixing is doing the same thing. Even though actual clips of songs are used, the end product is a completely different sound and style than the songs that have been used in it. Our culture has always done this (refer to rule one, please!!!), so what makes it so wrong to do now? the answer to that could be “nothing at all”, but what can you really do? Rule two of the manifesto explains it all. The past always tries to control the future. The pioneers of fair use and the veterans of copyright will butt heads until the end of time, I suppose.

 

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