This documentary focus on the topic of copyright and sampling, offering two opposing views that have been conflicting for decades: copyright and copyleft. Some people believe the process of sampling creates a moral dilemma because you are using someone else’s work to profit (and passing it off as your own). I definitely have a bias when it comes to sampling. The band that I frequently guest sing for, Beautiful UFO” uses an array of samples to create their music. I don’t see how sampling can be viewed as profiting from someone else’s work as the end product is nothing close to what they originally sampled. Beautiful UFO takes samples from Earthbound and creates an entirely different sound.
On the other hand, I do think that people should be able to profit from their creations and have some control over what they created. There is a strong battle between industries and people when it comes to copyright. I think this is really what it comes down to for me: the artists who create rarely get the money that is being fought over. Music production companies, like the one who own the rights to “Happy Birthday” are profiting from use of songs, rather than people who wrote the song Patty and Mildred Hill. This is hindering progress for creation and progress in music, movies, science, and medicine (among many other things). The documentary points out an ongoing cycle that continues with copyright issues: Walt Disney is a prime example of this. He took works in the public domain and built on them to make them relevant for our age (and make a ton of money). A few examples of this are the “Mickey Mouse Club” and “Steam Boat Bill” or “Faust” and “Fantasia.” At some point, however, Walt Disney wanted to control the past and protect their industry so that no one could build upon their own product; a product that was created by using the work of others. I guess this is why we don’t have a Saskatchewan Disney Theme Park – come on, Walt! I think it is more beneficial for us to share ideas than protect property. As a teacher, I constantly take other peoples lessons and adapt them to fit my teaching style and particular classroom. I remember scouring what felt like the ends of the internet for resources on the Canadian government and the Holocaust to try and make it relevant and interesting for students. Without a doubt, my teaching was exponentially better because I had this kind of access to other peoples’ work. I also got inspired to create my own lessons after finding a lack of information available. This battle has led to some really amazing and innovative collaboration. Creative Commons was basically formed so that artists could give people permission to use their artwork and make other products better. This is a way to fight back against copyright. I wonder what would happen if we had this collaborating attitude to patents in medicine and science where we put the progress before personal property. We don’t put human rights before profitable patents; the very fact that Brazil had to break intellectual property laws so they could reduce the prices of medication for HIV by 40-65% makes me incredibly sad.
Sharing is the nature of creation.
It does not happen in isolation.