Lawrence Lessig gets DMCA’d for fair use by Warners

More silliness from Warners, who after nixing my video and many other peoples seem to be taking over EMI’s previous Public Enemy #1 Evil spot really quickly.

So you have a talk about copyright by Lawrence Lessig, a leading expert and thinker in the field, founder of Creative Commons and professor of law at Stanford Law School. So you’re Warners what do you do – do you allow the fair use in a presentation of short clips talking about remix culture, mashups and video remixes, or do you DMCA the leading Creative Commons and copyright expert in the field? Guess what they did. Dumb.

And unwise, because unlike the many people who get their mashup videos or their baby videos silenced on YouTube, Larry has the means, the law and the public platform to make this very messy.

Go Larry, go!

Someone reposted this video to blip so you can see what the fuss is about. I haven’t worked out the bit that enraged Warners – all the bits I’ve seen so far are either Universal, Disney or EMI.

Interesting talk about Philip De Souza vs record players, it reminds me of the same ‘anti-creative’ ‘anti-social’ argument I’ve had with many people over Twitter, and have expressed here in the past. The effect of technology on creativity, and restrictions and law that come with them are very interesting to me, and politically volatile. And interesting that news of this came out via Twitter…

But having now watched the whole video I have to say I agree with Lessig’s call for change, and for stopping the Copyright Wars, and allowing remixing and extending fair use for amateur works – but I don’t agree that the laws should be adapted, and the status quo of copyright extended into a new age. The laws don’t work, the ship is far too creaky – let it sink and create new laws. Also as he partly points out, the hybrid of Web 2.0 poses very big problems – the ‘free’ content of reviews, remixes, comments, posts, votes is increasingly owned by the corporations even if like with Amazon it increases their value. The ‘just’ hybrid of sharing these gains under the capitalist system will NEVER happen.

The concept of copyright has been abused from the original idea during the time of printing – a right to copy after a certain time, to allow creative re-use, but also give the original artists a breathing space for copying – to one that is presented as some retirement plan for artists, and something that is notenabling a right to copy but a preventation of copying. And original was apparently a law to protect the owners NOT the authors; this kind of enclosure act is evil, and doesn’t seem to be supporting the majority of artists anyway, but their overlords. A fairer system is not the existing copyright laws of now 70+ years, obviously yes artists need protection of some sort; I’d not be happy if people take my pictures and call them their own and exploit them for commercial gain – but if them adapting my pictures causes me to get more exposure and I get a cut of it, fine. But the law as it stands is binary, I either say ‘yes screw me’ or ‘no not at all’ – no grey area, apart from CC which I use for some of my photos. I shouldn’t need to give permission unless it’s a commercial use, and in fact that is actually what is happening, but it’s illegal.

So these tangled wire of laws does not seem to me as being fair, nor consistently applied, nor consistently created in uniform fashion – the piecemeal approach has very large holes in it – so why continue to patch the leaky ship?

I mean I can’t see a company realising the people interacting with it are increasing it’s value so offering them shares or money for example? The best that will happen is for people to own their own content, but then back we go into nightmares of usage and permission, and these people won’t have the stake in the company that in fact will increase the interaction and give them a warm fuzzy feeling.

Also I disagree that P2P, torrenting and file sharing of complete unaltered works is in any way harmful to ‘the industry’ or artists. In fact, as he showed in the video an example of Kodak and deregulation of images of people and lack of control in the photographic market – same applies to music and videos on P2P. The explosion of blogs, Myspace, interest in a wide varieties of music and partial breakdown of genre ‘walls’ is in part due to this, people getting exposed to far more music is NOT a bad thing.

Getting it for free does not mean they will never buy anything; in fact the opposite seems to be the case with people who share buying either more music they’d not buy, or downloading the stuff they weren’t going to buy anyway, or paying for ancillary/related industries such as seeing bands live, tshirts, stickers, posters, related projects etc. Like with free books, this is not a clear cut case of free=insane or free=shit. That is also developing a relationship of interaction, which the industry should embrace, and do on the sly giving blogs and DJs free promos and ‘leaked’ tracks. It is literally one rule for a small accepted ‘in’ crowd and another for the larger ‘out’ crowd of ‘punters’ (how I hate that term, and I use it with all the negative connoitations intact).

And don’t forget, if you select Quicktime and have QT Pro (or hack around the code) you can download it. Just sayin’ like 😉

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