I have just watched Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4 video series of ‘Everything is a Remix’ by Kirby Ferguson. He defines ‘Remixing’ as an act of combining or editing existing material to produce something new, a process of collecting material, combining and transforming it.
Technology companies, Musicians or Film production houses have in their creativity used an idea or sample or scene from other companies, musicians or previous films in order to create their own product. In legal terms one’s idea is regarded as an intellectual property which deserved certain rights. So this usage of other people’s ideas to create your own product can be regarded as copying or plagiarism in courts of law and lawsuits begin to happen.
On one hand, I clearly understand the whole idea of taking someone to court because of plagiarising your work and proceeding to making their own product out of your creativity. Usually if it is a tangible product, the copy is likely to be cheaper since there is a production stage that has been missed, the invention stage’s overheads, therefore the end product is cheaper compared to the original. On the market, the original product may suffer in terms of profit, hence the process of taking each other to court. However on the other hand as Kirby Ferguson explained in one of his four part series;
“Nobody starts out original, we need copying to build the foundation of knowledge and understanding…”
I agree to this statement because almost all creativity has developed from what has come before. It is funny how, when one is ‘Remixing’ the work of others, they justify it but when others remix their work then problems begin. Steve Jobs (1996) the Co-founder of Apple Inc. once said;
“We have been shameless about stealing great ideas…”
according to K. Ferguson, on his ‘Everything is a Remix’ series, Xerox created its first computer in the early 70’s called the Alto and in 1981 created the Star 8010 two and three years before the Apple’s Lisa and Macintosh (a follow up of Lisa) respectively. All these creations had graphic user interfaces. Apple’s creation had a one button mouse and other graphical functions perceived to be better engineering compared to Xerox’s Star 8010. Not just a better creation, Apple’s Macintosh creation was cheaper at $ 2500 compared to the $17 000 Star 8010. Even though Apple may have used Xerox’s creativity , Alto is an evolutionary branch of the NLS system which used windows and a mouse to sketch pad drawing application and this system used the work of Mamax (resembling the modern PC) a decade before. So using work of others to create a new or better product has been happening for a long time. This ‘interdependency of creativity’ is still happening today and Android, like any other creator may have used Ferguson’s ‘Collect, Combine and Transform’ theory and this is what happened;
“I am going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product. I’m willing to go thermonuclear war on this.” (Steve Jobs 2010).
As Ferguson pointed out, in this day in age, we are struggling to deal with the interdependency of creativity legally, ethically and artistically. Please enjoy the video.