RIP A Remix Manifesto documents the changing theme of copyright infringement in the new era craze of remixing and mash-up. Above all the arguments discussed in the film, and above the historical implications found throughout Information Feudalism, exist the most important words spoken by Brazil’s former Minister of Culture, Gilberto Gil:

“Sharing is the nature of creation.”

The latter half of the documentary, RIP A Remix Manifesto, focuses on the work of Walt Disney. A giant in the media industry, Disney keeps its creations and ideas under tight control and goes after anyone who shows signs of “stealing” their material. But it became very interesting when we learned that Mr. Disney himself fashioned his films like Cinderella and Snow White after old, pre-existing tales of the same characters. He just gave them color, a voice and that Disney magic stuff, and the rest is history. Even Mickey Mouse’ early existence as Steamboat Willie stemmed from the existing character of a similar name, Steamboat Bill Jr, played by Buster Keaton. Sharing = Creation

Evidence exists that as we have grown and evolved, we have built on what was present in the past and used it in our now. Sound mixing is just one of the many examples of this. But how does this affect the most prized establishment in our country, education? As children, we learn to be creative from what we have already observed. We see Britney Spears dance on TV and the next thing you know, we’re in our living rooms taking some of her dance steps and mixing them with whatever moves us and BAM! creative dancing. Imitation, which also encompasses the notion of sharing, is often done in the classroom setting. When investors and media moguls take away the bits and pieces that have made up our culture, the ability to progress and evolve becomes halted.

The matter regarding copyrighted material has proved to be an overly complicated one that officials dealing with it don’t even want to get into. It appears that they just settle with what they have always done and end it there. The argument that was made regarding artists like Girl Talk was that they (mixers) are not being creative; they are using someone else’s creativity and work and calling it their own. Lawrence Lessig, founder of Creative Commons, is making an effort to educate the world about the very idea that we create by sharing, and when we don’t, we are literally halting our ability to discover new and even beneficial devices. Kids in an art class told to create their own monster’s out of Play-Dough, could be sued because Disney and Pixar came out with a film called Monsters Inc. in 2001 and recreating a monster treads on their film characters. Laws could become this absurd if a common agreement isn’t reached.

Educating the future at an early age about what is acceptable and what isn’t is a start. Selling an album that uses the work of another artist, without their consent is illegal. Creating doesn’t have to be illegal and I believe there to be a happy medium that can be reached to please all parties.

By. Sarah Crowe