I don’t think I would do justice to Cory Doctorow’s talk at Vivid Ideas by going through the points blow by blow so I encourage you to leave this page and go to the podcasts at 2SER to hear it for yourself. If you need to be convinced to listen to this recording you will:
- Hear a beautiful introduction on how copying is not only central to creative production but to human learning
- Hear how far current copyright laws promoted by the US government have veered from the original intent of copyright acts
- Be incensed by the efforts of familiar brand names and our favourite device makers to take control of our property (should we dare impinge on theirs,) and perhaps even be fearful of the implications of these efforts
- Realise how culturally biased copyright law is (did you know melody can be copyrighted but rhythm can’t?)
- Be outraged by the monopoly digital distributors hold on markets and on creators’ copyrights taking control away from artists and their investors and holding customers captive too. Not only that, but the legislation passed by governments only serves to protect these businesses.
There’s only one thing I would add to the discussion on copyright. Doctorow pointed out that effort around Digital Rights Management are easily circumvented by people (“Prometheus bittorrent retun” he joked). He mentioned the absurd effort of a yogi to copyright a yoga pose. But the precedents of cultural copyright being enforced are only growing as a means to gain control and benefits over land, customs, symbols and knowledge. So if you want to go on an intellectual tangent listen to Jean and John Comaroff from the University of Chicago speak about the efforts of cultural groups to protect their IP:
- Speaking on the ABC’s Philosopher’s Zone radio program: Reflections on Cultural Identity
- Speaking at Sydney University’s Sydney Ideas series. Warning; this talk is very dense and academic: Reflections on Cultural Identity: Ethnicity, Intellectual Property, and the Commodification of Collective Being
But in the meantime go and listen to Cory.