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November 13, 2007

Strangling creativity

I've mentioned the TED talks before on this blog and I think it is true to say that all the ones I've watched in the series have been excellent.  The recently announced talk by Lawrence Lessig, How creativity is being strangled by the law, is no exception:

The Net's most adored lawyer brings together John Philip Sousa, celestial copyrights, and the "ASCAP cartel" to build a case for creative freedom. He pins down the key shortcomings of our dusty, pre-digital intellectual property laws, and reveals how bad laws beget bad code. Then, in an homage to cutting-edge artistry, he throws in some of the most hilarious remixes you've ever seen.

This presentation works on a number of levels - it is thought-provoking, inspirational and very funny and is given using a presentational style that makes it a joy to watch.  Well worth the 30 minutes or so that it will take to view it.

Meanwhile, over on the Guardian Unlimited Technology blog, Cory Doctorow pokes fun at the National Portrait Gallery, Warhol is turning in his grave, by highlighting the irony of putting on an exhibition of pop art, an art movement that to a large extent celebrated "nicking the work of others, without permission, and transforming it to make statements and evoke emotions never countenanced by the original creators", in an environment adorned with copyright-induced restrictions.

Does this show - paid for with public money, with some works that are themselves owned by public institutions - seek to inspire us to become 21st century pop artists, armed with cameraphones, websites and mixers, or is it supposed to inform us that our chance has passed and we'd best settle for a life as information serfs who can't even make free use of what our eyes see and our ears hear? 


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In a classic Lawrence Lessig presentation, this time at TED, he explains why we must stop criminalizing our kids. found via: Powell, Andy and Johnston, Pete: Strangling creativity Technorati Tags: copyright, law, licensing, lawrencelessig, open-conten... [Read More]


I saw Lawrence talk on this topic at the Hay-on-Wye festival last year, and he was excellent. Since this, I've felt completely inadequate in using Powerpoint - the man is a genius :)

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