Although The Ecstasy of Influence and Everything is a Remix are shown in different ways, and focus on different fields of art, they are pretty similar to each other. Both of them are talking about copy, creativity, remix.
After reading their works, I think the creativity without being accused of stealing others’ work depends on many factors.
For example, when talking about calligraphy in china, the style we used comes from other artists. However, in this field, if we write something in this style, no one will say you steal something from other. Also, if you use certain terms, which have specific meaning itself, from other artists’ work, people will just say you use it for reference, because you use this term yo create a new scene of poem. But when talking about novel, like the one in The Ecstasy of Influence, if we use the famous sentence, or make use of some plots, will it be a problem of plagiarism? It’s hard to say.
Therefore, the standard of copyright, creativity, … really depends on which field you are in, whether you create or combine something new, and the degree of what you have created. But its true that everything, every work we do in on the base of other’s achievement. The development of society is literally based on the history, what we have created, what is good, what is bad, what can be better, etc.
To Everything is Remix, i do believe that “create” is just combine what we have already had. But this, we add our thoughts in it. Like the part “The song remains the same”. Can we say they are really the same? Of course no. For instance, in the first movie of The Hobbit, the dwarves sing the song: misty mountain in the movie. the sone is slow, deep and melodious. And the ending song in the movie is sung by another singer. Actually, the two songs re almost the same, not only in the melody but also in the lyrics. But the ending sone is faster, and added some modern elements like jazz. They copied, without fundamental change, but they do give the movie new tongues of song.
Stealing can motivate creativity, I agree that. But when we talk about stealing others, we agree that. When we think about being stolen, we will definitely disagree that. In today’s society, it is reasonable that a lot of stuff we create are measured by the amount of money. And if we are stolen, it means our own stuff is somehow losing its own value. And also, human being are self-centered. Therefore, we need copyright to maintain the society. But to me, I think the creativity of “stealing” will never stop, since we need to improve and to see something new.