If I have observed anything from the youtube series “Everything is a Remix” and the “Ecstasy of Influence”, it is that all things, and I do mean all things, are created from the old. This is not an opinion, or even a well stated thesis. Just as sure as Bob Dylan derived his music from the work of others, we can be absolutely sure of the categorical claim that all creations are the culminations of older works.
The way I see it, there are two discussions regarding this topic present today. The first, is to determine whether it is acceptable for new creations to incorporate aspects from older creations, considering the claims Kirby makes. This is a discussion about plagairism. The second discussion pertains to the legal aspect of copyright and patent, or rather, the ownership of intellectual property.
To address the first, I think both the Kirby and Lethern are in agreement. By this I mean that both agree that part of the creation process does indeed include the observation and incorporation of already existing things. This inclusion, emulation, or duplication, is not done maliciously or out of laziness. Rather, this is just a natural and unavoidable part of the creative process. Therefore, in a way, all forms of creations are to an extent, plagiarism. However, such plagiarisms are not inherently evil nor do they detract from the creation. Such usage must be appreciated as a natural byproduct of the creative process.
The second discussion, which concerns law and patenting, is a little bit more difficult an issue to address. I say this because big and powerful “Patent Trolls” are numerous, and fight tooth and nail to squeeze every profitable cent from artistic creation. Notable examples would be the response of EMI Records to Danger Mouse’s “Gray Album”. As Lethern points out, patents were not created to discourage creation nor feed the greedy patent trolls, but really to do just the opposite. Effectually, they were created to allow the original creator time to cover their costs, and then allow for the invention to be explored for the general good of the public. However, these original noble intentions have since been perverted by institutions such as the patent trolls.
I agree with all the points that both pieces present. However, I think that as this postmodern society advances, and the issue of intellectual property is further debated, we must never forget those whose creative license is at stake. Many artists do feel that their works are indeed protect by the very laws that patent trolls abuse. In conclusion, all sides must be considered moving forward.