Everything is a Remix

From September of 2010 to February 2012, Kirby Ferguson’s Everything is a Remix is a in-depth (and admitted biased view) of the culture of remixing popular media from its simple roots to the advent of the market effecting everything that to develop new media without litigation and public scorn. In my view, this is a well thought out series you can’t imagine how I can play into this story.

The Song Remains The Same

Here is where the creation of the words “heavy metal” and remixing has begun. So far it takes a real good ear to break down each sample of the examples he gives. Yet to me, I don’t subconsciously suspect that until it is given to me and I’ll be like “wow, really?!”

Remix Inc.

It’s proof positive that originality or attempted originality is a cardinal sin to those who want to see the familiar. Think about it, ever seen an original production made it big in the last ten years that wasn’t based on, adapted from or a sequel to anything that already exists? If not, take a good look at the presumptuous comments on the IMDB boards when ever someone rips on the remake of a classic movie or the Nostalgia Critic’s old vs. new segments.

On the term Original itself when he goes into the genre movies. Well if that’s the case then what is original anymore? And yeah I can see what he means, with those examples, you find original movies but fit into a categorized template of what it is supposed to be. The Avatar example, I’m going with others of what this movie is too much like. As for the extremely popular that shape pop culture. Yeah when that happens generation after generation won’t shut up about it and yet, no one notices until it’s too late.

The Elements of Creativity

Well, this was the most prominent of the four parts. Not because of its intro music but also for its overall message: Originality… is an illusion, for everything that is created is based on something that was created before by past inventors and creators. My only argument is what are the chances that society will remember the predecessors instead of the people who made the breakthrough.

In the making of the Apple computer well, it wasn’t a matter of copying elements from the computers from Xerox. Well it was less of copying and more of “I’ll show it off to you and see what you can make out of it. Basically, we’re giving it away.” Xerox are kicking themselves for that decision ever since not seeing what they could be on instead of thinking of pricing and the logistics of their creation. Kirby also forgot to mention the PC side when Bill Gates making of Windows with its early GUI from the Macintosh and the explosion of the PC clones based on the original IBM PC which are in themselves copies that we still use today.

System Failure

In the final part of this series when it talks about LUCA (Last Universal Common Ancestor. Makes you wonder where that came from in the first place). Then gets to the point of what it is about when it comes to the idea of when our ideas are now regarded as property rather than things others can build upon. “Original creations can’t compete with the price of copies” That all works in good unless two things occur: That the copy is as good or better than the original and the copy doesn’t conk out or suck when its in operation by the user. That and he whole user loyalty thing.

Then came Loss Aversion. I like this term because you can use this term to describe why people download songs illegally over the web or they torrent games and movies they thought we don’t like based on reviews. Sort of works the same way on the other end. Think of it this way on the user end, you buy something on line for say at a reasonable price. It’s not a physical thing but digital like an MP3 file or movie and then your computer goes through a catastrophic crash that destroys everything. Well that’s a loss of all the money you spent on those files and therefore have to buy them all over again. With the advent of P2P software and file sharing, those losses have been averted because no loss of money to the user was put into it.

Torrents can have that ideal too. Think that a game or show is too risky to throw your hard earned cash into knowing that you will never get it back and hate blaming yourself for doing it? Torrent that shit and you’ll feel better about it. On that note the creator side hates this kinds of losses and that is why I see are very few companies give software that have trials or put draconian protections on their works to prevent piracy and the loss of their profits. Does make you wonder if any of the creators are really in it for the love of creating or they’re in it for the money. Either that or the people who made Don’t copy that floppy are growing more fill of shit by the second.

“Most of us have no problem with copying (as long as we’re the ones doing it)” Uh… Kirby don’t forget the addendum: “…and have the money, power influence and resources to do it.” Also hmm.. Broader Interpretations: Yeah, anything to make a buck off a case can’t have specifics. New Legislation: For the jobs that can’t live without them such as lawyers, lawmakers and lobbyists who want more power than they should have. New Realms: I got nothing here and Alluring Rewards: What? other than making more money and not caring of the people who they destroy because of assumptions of them making copying works.

George Harrison in his loss of a 1981, 1.5 million dollar lawsuit to a group that no one has ever heard about. The Chiffons? Who the hell are they? He’s from the Beatles and they sound nothing alike. Now The Southern Tones and Ray Charles that is where I can hear the similarities to their sounds. But then again who will ever remember those the greats copy from? Book Piracy, how does that work?

The trolls, especially Patient Trolls well it’s amazing that they get anything gets done. A law should be to prevent any form of opportunistic litigation without any basis. He mentions Paul Allen, I can also give you Eolas who have been more busy at work than Allen does for suing people for inconsequential stuff. Say like the way IE6 looked before Microsoft paid them millions to get it back.

In summary, Everything is a Remix is a very interesting series from beginning to end though it was missing a few facts and other famed examples of remixes and transformations that shaped the world. But that would make it longer and from what I remember that bit of Steve Jobs in part four. That was from Triumph of the Nerds, another good documentary you can see right now on YouTube. My thoughts about the last part is that is there is fear of being a footnote in history should the copiers become famous or that nothing ever gets done anymore because we fear change, loss or embarrassment for such risks.

There is a need for change but as long as people can take advantage of the familiar and the creators can make money off of it, As long as there is a need to protect our assets that were meant for the common good with that “what’s in it for me” mentality, the prospects of further advancing our creativity will seem so far away.


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