Why copyright and creativity are not separate issues
Artists like to talk about creativity. It gives them warm fuzzy feelings to go on and on about this elusive and all-important aspect art-making, and they love sharing tips about how to fuel it in an art practice.
But bring up copyright while one of these sentimental exchanges is going on, and you might as well be announcing that the chocolate cake you brought to the party is sweetened with dates instead of refined sugar. You become a social outcast who must be shunned for espousing anything but the saccharine high of a heavily processed opiate.
Whenever I try to inject some copyleft concepts into discussions about creativity, someone usually takes it upon themselves to say to me that creativity and copyright are two very separate issues. They assert this and give no useful explanation of their reasoning: it is fact.
Except it’s not.
Creativity is all about remixing the culture which surrounds us. It’s about standing on the shoulders of giants and being mature enough as a poet to steal from others.
You know what else is all about remixing, and, more specifically, about making remixing more difficult? Copyright.
If you care about creativity, you should automatically care enough to at least think twice before you slap a © on your work. And thinking twice is as easy as watching the documentary RIP: A Remix Manifesto, reading Lawrence Lessig’s Free Culture, or checking out articles and videos in this section of my blog.
- Austin Kleon: creativity, copyright, and superstition
- Copyright is for scaredy-cats. / Le droit d’auteur, c’est pour les peureux.
- Artists who believe in copyright are like Tea Partyists.