The Right to Remix: The Need for Legislative Reform

In response to Lawrence Lessig’s article on Remix, it is clear that one of the Internet’s greatest battles is being waged right now. The battle for the right of amateurs to build on copyrighted works. Lessig points out that one of the main issues with modern copyright law is that in the age of the Internet, retrospectively, the laws are not as modern as they need to be.

Considering the many serious dilemmas our country has to consider, law regarding copyright is relatively minor nevertheless as a nation we are due for a legislative overhaul in terms of copyright law, to account for the overwhelming growth of the Internet age. In my opinion, Lessig gave the best analogy for this issue when he relates it to the prohibition of alcohol in the United States in the 20’s. This offers some relief for Remix enthusiasts in that it suggests this messy legal situation is temporary. The question remains about how long people will wait for this situation to be rectified. Is there any end in sight? Will the situation escalate further before it is resolved? If you are like me, you have a pessimistic view of government solutions, which is compounded on a daily basis as we hear of bureaucratic red tape bogging down the system to hilarious proportions. The constant tug- of -war between opposing political institutions results in a lack of progress on many different national issues including this one. I understand the desire that many Americans have to create using existing materials as a platform, and it is happening exponentially in the culture of today. In my personal experience, I have used music as inspiration for many short videos. I have grown up in an age where an abundance of content is readily available on the Internet as well as the technology and ability to manipulate the material to serve a different project. While, I do realize the necessity for original creators to receive compensation for the creation of their work, I believe their right to dictate what the purchaser does with the piece should be scaled back. In keeping with my own experience, specifically with copyright music, I have had trouble when uploading videos to YouTube then receiving notices about violating music copyrights. However, that is occurring less and less. The issue remains that artists, or more often the companies that represent them, stifle the creative works of the masses in an attempt to extract every penny they can for the original work. This trend must change and I am hopeful that it will. It will be interesting to watch the evolution of this issue and the landmarks that break the current cycle to influence real change in government policy.

In these new and exciting times, it is clear that the laws that were put in place originally need to adapt to the culture that has changed dramatically during these past few decades. The Internet has changed the way we live and government needs to define its relationship with it in a way that is fair yet not overly intrusive.


1 thought on “The Right to Remix: The Need for Legislative Reform

  1. I agree that the way in which the government has been constantly trying to put penalties and restrictions on music remixes and overall copyright law has gotten pretty ridiculous. It’s very troubling to me that someone can put hours of time and effort into a short film or a remix or anything of that nature, and have to worry about if they can legally share with people what they have done. We’re restricting the ways in which people can express themselves. Now I also agree that the artist of the original work should be protected and should be compensated for what they’ve done, but I also believe that accusing an artist such as Girl Talk of copyright infringement, after seeing just how painstakingly he works to try and create his own music, is absurd.

    In terms of actually seeing change come to this matter, it’s going to be a very long time before we see anything positive. We’re going to need new political leaders, ones that are definitely more tech-savvy, more technologically aware than what we currently have, who understand the importance of allowing musicians like Girl Talk to express themselves the way they want to, and to lead other politicians in the same direction.

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