Friday, April 19, 2024

Free Culture’s Moral Panics Continue

On the heels of yesterday’s chicken little report over the death of creativity, Marc Aronson, writing for the NY Times, op-ed’s about how copyright is–you guessed it–killing the creativity of nonfiction writers. To his credit, Aronson does propose another “permission-based” structure, which I believe is actually called licensing. Here’s a snippet of his argument (and well within fair use):

[W]e have to fix a system that is broken: getting permission to use copyrighted material in new work. Either we change the way we deal with copyrights — or works of nonfiction in a multimedia world will become ever more dull and disappointing.

Really? Does the world really suck that much? Are we really starving for creative culture? Unfortunately, this “copyright is a weed to my dainty flowers” argument seems to forget that we’re still living in a free-market (and the freedom to contract to boot). Aronson continues:

Since authors and publishers have stakes on both sides of this issue, they ought to be able to come up with suggested fees that would allow creators to set reasonable budgets, and compel rights holders to conform to industry norms. [Bold text mine]

Interestingly enough, there was an argument made for the other side of productivity this week by S.E. Cupp. In her article, Idle hands are our workshop: My generation has forgotten how to make stuff, Cupp argues that her generation is one of thought and no action. Speaking of her grandfather:

Like so many from his generation, making stuff or fixing stuff or helping make stuff work better is what you did. But after the economic boom of the 1950s, that generation raised another generation that increasingly decided that making stuff wasn’t as fun or lucrative or important as thinking about stuff.

It wouldn’t be much of a stretch to argue that “thinking about stuff” is analogous now to appropriating stuff. After all, since the ’50s, we’ve been given ample academic ammunition on the birth of post-modernism and the death of originality. Think about it, wait for someone else to write about it, and then copy it. Free culture.


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  • heir most companies do not have such a big commitment and responsibility of the company’s founder, the founder and heir to the culture is different, many companies went bankrupt because of the heiress who can not afford to continue the founder’s footsteps

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