Rip Celebrates Piracy

The ethics of copyright have been debated for a long time, as technology advances; the copyright law constantly struggles to redefine it’s self.  The American approach to copyright can be defined as a utilitarian approach, which states that creative agents innovate and develop products to benefit the large public for monetary or economic compensation.  This view tends to place the monetary compensation of distribution agencies ahead of the individual creative agents interests as the main priority.   Contrarily to the United States, the European approach to copyright is deontological, which claims the creative work as an artifact of the creator’s personhood and identity.  Thus placing the creative agent as the main holder of ownership.  The inception of copyleft is the alternative to both the American and European approach.  Copyleft allows the individual creative agent the right to implement a set of rules on how their creative artifact is distributed, shared and used.  This approach is celebrated by the documentary Rip, which I agree with as the best answer in a fast evolving society full of culture.  Rip also raises the issue of the public domain restrictions; media corporations have pushed legislation to extend their ownership of ideas to more that quadruple their original lifespan.  This issue of intellectual ownership is important enough to criticize the corporations for truly limiting cultural progress.   Limiting the power of the past in controlling the future is vital in assuring the right of a voice for each passing generation.  However the documentary tends to be biased against corporations by justifying the use of Pier-to-Pier file sharing and piracy as a cultural right without any repercussions.  Rip mocks film stars Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jackie Chan for their involvement against piracy, which ignores the important issue of technological determinism.   The reality of Pier-to-Pier sharing is that most of the public shares files with the intention of acquiring creative works free of charge, without any desire to remix or change them.  There are numerous illegal distribution rings of film and music that pirate creative media works for their own monetary gain.  It is unjustifiable to claim the intentions of many individuals under one umbrella of technological determination aspiring for fair use and remix.  Piracy is a serious threat to the sustenance and continuation of the creative process for any creative agent in our capitalist society.  However it is necessary to implement and maintain an ethical approach to the regulation of such technology.  The ridiculous lawsuits filed by the Disney Corporation against daycare centers, are examples of ignorant panic against a new technological threat that require such implementations.  Another relative example that the documentary mentions is the “illegal” patenting of a cheaper Aids medication carried out by the country of Brazil.  The capitalization and privatization of information that is for the good of all humanity is illegal.  To claim the cure for such diseases as the private property of a corporate entity or individual truly threatens humanity’s right to life, liberty and the pursuit happiness.  A balanced regulation with the infusion of sound ethics must be implemented between our ever-evolving technology and the integrity of ownership, fair use and remix.

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One thought on “Rip Celebrates Piracy

  1. Where do we draw the line with “remixing”? In the film, GirlTalk remixes songs, but what I did not like was that when the filmmaker was showing what remixing is to the lady, the example shown is much different to many of GirlTalk’s other songs. The example the lady saw was an extremely cut and remixed version of a couple songs. Almost to the point of being unrecognizable, yet there is plenty of footage of GirlTalk songs that are extremely recognizable. They almost sound like he simply played two songs at the same time. My point in saying this isn’t to question how good GirlTalk is. It is to question where we draw the line to “remixing”. In 1989 Vanilla Ice recorded a mash-up of Queen’s “Under Pressure” and we all know it today…”Ice Ice Baby.” Many viewed this as a cheap way for Ice to make a hit. But as close as the track may sound to “Under Pressure” it is in all fairness a remix. I think that there’s is indeed a blurry line drawn as to when the artist is being creative with the work of another artist and when one is blatantly taking advantage of another person’s hard earned success. How do we determine the integrity of a remix?

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