Saturday, April 18, 2009

YouTube vs Warner Music Group

It's time for the music industry to catch up with new media. With very few exceptions, instead of changing with the times, they have been fighting against them. When the copyright laws were written the Internet, bit torrent , and peer to peer file sharing were nonexistent. The laws are out of date, and need to be revised to work with new media like YouTube.

I would bet that if you asked individual artists if they though Juliet Weybret's cover of their song should be removed from YouTube, very few (like Metallica) would say "Yes." Progress is a result of taking ideas and building on them, remixing them, combining them into new ideas and sharing them. What the music industry, or any industry that relies on copyright law, needs to do if come up with a viable way that this can happen without turning people into targets for legal action.

Creative Commons , headed up by Lawrence Lessig, is the perfect example of how to do this. They provide legal ways to copyright material with many different clear degrees of freedom of use. Lessig has created a system that is legal, and allows for the culture of remixing and sharing of ideas. It is time for copyright law to take a huge step forward and continue to evolve with new media and the culture surrounding it.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Clements: YouTube vs Warner Music Article Response

I feel somewhat caught in the middle on this issue. I can see both sides of the story. While users like Juliet Weybret may have no intention of making a commercial profit from their videos (which happens to have copyright protected material), Google in the end makes money. On the other hand, it really stinks that Warner Music is interfering with creative expression. It would seem that allowing YouTubers to use their music would almost increase its popularity, possibly increasing their revenue...this however, is just a hypothesis.

In this age of new media and technology, music, videos, and the latest news spreads like wildfire even unintentionally. I'm not exactly sure how Warner Music is planning on preventing the posting of its material online...Like Dustin McLean, YouTubers may just migrate their videos to their own personal sites...perhaps they'll start making money and the problem will just go on and on. It's like a dog chasing its tail. Maybe it's easy to catch right now, but eventually it will quickly get dizzy.

Neuroaesthetics...sorry for the rant :)

So, as I said in class, I'm not crazy about this article:  but that might just be how my brain works :).  I would much rather leave a select few things in life a mystery, and art is one of them.  I like standing in front of a work of art and not being able to pin point what moves me.  To me, art and love and beauty and many other things just have magical qualities...and someone trying to tell me that it's not magic, it actually just has to do with how I'm "wired" makes me feel like a computer.  

So, what makes something beautiful?   I really have a hard time believing that there is something in my brain that tells me to think one work of art is more beautiful than something else.  In my own artwork, I am constantly asking the question, "do people build society or does society build people?"  I think that the way we function, what we want from life, what we avoid, what we seek...all those things have to do with the culture and society in which you are raised, and how you react to what you experience.  

One example that I can think of is Slumdog Millionaire.  America fell in love with that movie...why?  Was it wired in our brains to love that sort of movie, or that sort of story, or the way the story was told?  The music in it?  The photography?  The acting?  Was it just a perfect combination of all of those components that set off something in each of our brains?  The perfect storm to satisfy our "beauty sensors"?  I don't buy it.  I thought it was a beautiful movie, it was a great story and put me in a good mood, and I have to admit that the theme song Jai Ho makes me want to dance.  But what if we looked at the rest of the picture to explain this phenomenon?  I think one of the main themes in the movie is that hope perseveres.  Wasn't 2008 the year of hope?  Hope has been in the air, and we've all been hungry for it.  Isn't it likely that it was just the perfect timing in our society for something like that to show us the "beauty of hope"?  

I think that most things people think are human nature aren't natural at all.  Like marriage or racism or sexism.  Today these do not seem like natural tendancies, but barriers we've broken trough to a more progressive society.  But wouldn't you say there was a time where the majority said that it was un-natural for a woman to work?  To be single?  To love another woman?  Don't you think there were probably scientists that tried to prove that women were naturally wired to be mothers and supporters of their husbands?  That black men were wired differently than white men?   

We perceive all of these things, racism, marriage, sexism, etc. to either fit the norm or not. Finding a scientific explanation that says humans are naturally racist would leave us complacent in our struggles for social justice.  If we are naturally racist, then what's wrong with a little racism, we can't help it, this part of the brain makes us racist!  Too bad if gay people want rights, their brains must be malfunctioning.  A woman president?  I'd rather not risk it, my brain is not wired to accept that.  

As an artist who explores society and identity politics, I think it is very dangerous to EXPLAIN everything.  What if we're wrong?  What damage can be done?  Explaining away beauty...PROVING a perception to be true or false?  Is solving the mystery of beauty worth the risk of a false perception?  

I don't think so.  That is one can of worms I don't want to open.  I am just fine with unexplainable, mysterious, unknown beauty, life is much more interesting when you leave a little bit to chance.  

Thursday, April 16, 2009

youtube v. warner

There is an interesting dynamic that exists in a case like this. On the one hand it seems like Warner is the big bad corporation that is shutting down the little guy out of blind greed. I can hardly see how a 15 year old girl's cover of a Christmas carol really affects Warner's profits. On the other hand, youtube has become a multimillion dollar organization as well. Seeing as they profit from the amount of videos users post, they have essentially the same incentive (money) as Warner. In light of the copyright laws, I guess the only fair thing would be for youtube to give Warner a cut of the profits that they make off of their copyrighted material, but then that would open them up to every company out their doing the same thing. I don't know that I can see a solution that keeps all parties happy that repects and upholds the law. I do think that this sort of thing represents how record companies are becoming irrelevant and are resistant to change. No one buys CDs anymore, and more and more musicians are releasing their own music on the internet and are even putting it up for free. I wonder how long it will be before record companies either get with the times and accept that things are changing or else become totally obsolete and vanish...