Everything is a Remix & The Ecstasy of Influence Response

There is much merit in the arguments made against the fight against plagiarism in the two media pieces we had to study this week: “The Ecstasy of Influence” as well as “Everything is a Remix.”

These two works criticized the isolated idea of “this work is my property” and the copyright/patent laws in the US as stifling creativity. “Everything is a Remix” in particular argues strongly that the art of creativity is exactly copying and pasting–but pasting in a different way. For example, taking the same idea and transforming it to apply to another idea (also copied) to form a ‘new’ idea; this is called ‘remixing”. No creative work of art is ever entirely original; what makes a work of art unique is the method of ‘remixing.’ Moreover, we are inspired by others to create. If all of us worked to create something original, civilization would become stagnant as creating something wholly original is different and the ‘multiplicity’ of ideas would most definitely interfere.

“The Ecstasy of Influence” focuses more on plagiarism in literary works. Furthermore, it also brings science into the mix. Neuroscience shows that our memories and everything makes us, like a quilt, is stitched haphazardly. “If we cut-and-paste our selves, might we not forgive it of our artworks?” Moreover, how intentional is this ‘cutting and pasting’? We are influenced by the things we see in our lives and they forever shape us whether or not we actually recognize the influence they have on our lives.

While I do agree that copyright laws nowadays are too intense for the fostering of a healthy creative culture, I do believe that in the law’s original intent, it was well-intended and should be thus used as it was intended.

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