November 20, 2009

Remix selecta!

“This world in which we pretend that we’re not all copyright criminals is like the Victorians who pretended that they didn’t masturbate”

A pretty strong analogy perhaps but this is just one of the gems in RiP! A Remix Manifesto a fantastic documentary that challenges the notion of copyright law in today’s digital age.

Boing Boing’s Cory Doctorow, to whom the above quote should be attributed, is one of several figures in the film who highlight how corporate hypocrisy has criminalised otherwise law-abiding individuals and has shut down creativity through legal censorship.

RiP! A Remix Manifesto is essential viewing for anyone interested in remix, mash-ups and the conflict between intellectual property and recombinant culture. But this doc isn’t just an intelligent polemic on 21st century digital culture, it is a piece of work that walks the walk and invites its audience to participate, play around with and perhaps even improve upon the original.

And this is where things are getting truly exciting, The cultural line has been drawn in the sand, a divide that distinguishes the rigidity old culture from future freedoms of creative expression.

It is a manifesto embraced by a new generation who are confident enough to allow their audiences full access into what they have made and then encourage them to fuck around with it.

And it’s not just the well documented initiatives of artists such as Nine Inch Nails and Radiohead with their free downloads. It’s now also some of the smartest minds in business, who are humble enough to recognise that while they can start the conversation its evolution and growth within interested communities is a much more exciting and valuable end product. Alex Bogusky & John Winsor’s ‘Baked-In’ or the open-source approach of Sixth Sense Technologies being two great recent examples of this.

If you haven’t already seen this film it really is worth putting the time aside to watch it (and even remix it) – It won over audiences at the Sheffield Doc Fest last month, it’s won us over at Team Rubber and it sets out the stall for 21st Century cultural literacy. (Thanks to @stephengoliver who shared it with me yesterday)