Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Remixed

Has any piece of art been created without borrowing ideas from another? I would say no, because every artist has influences who have shaped the way they express themselves. Take Quentin Tarantino for example, you can take almost any shot in his movies and match them with a shot from another film that influenced him. This isn't stealing, it's borrowing. Some might not even go so far as to say that this is borrowing, but more of an influence. 

A more dangerous territory on this front is music. Musicians, for whatever reason, are held to a very high standard as to how much they borrow from other artists. When a musical artist puts out a song that's reminiscent of another and you can very clearly see what they've borrowed, they might be torn apart in the public eye. What really gets bad is when copyright infringement is brought up. This would happen when an artist samples another's work without having paid for the rights to do so. While I feel that these copyright laws can hurt the masses, they also need to be there in order to protect the original artist. 

If we were to remove copyright laws many people may be either demoralized or afraid to put out any work because of that. For example, Weird Al has to get permission to use the tracks from the original. While the vast majority of musicians have given him permission to create a parody, Prince has consistently said no to him. Whether Weird Al is only asking for permission for the legal reasons or as to be respectful of the artist's wishes, I don't know, but if it's only for legal reasons, then he could easily parody any number of Prince's songs. While this may bring joy to many people, it would be going against Prince's wishes. While those choices may just be for lucre reasons, someone's art should not be taken to be made fun of if the artist does not want them to. 

A solution would be for general public to be able to take pieces of other people's work as long as it's not to monetary gain. Many people all across the internet will mash up old movies or songs and distribute them for free, which would greatly hurt these expressions of gratitude to the artist and either be removed from websites or the creator would be fined. This discourages fans from showing how much they enjoy the work, and may even lose interest in the artists themselves. 

Some people will try to profit off the works of others, but the majority of people who remix songs and other forms of media are doing it out of love for the art. Because of this, we need our copyright laws to change in one way or another.