Thursday, October 27, 2011

MAC BP_01 - Copyright Issues

While reviewing copyright issues for Media Asset Creation I was reminded of my first experience with copywriting. I have been a songwriter since my teens but I never thought of copyrighting my work until I started making money with music. After I released my first record I joined the American Society of Composers Authors and Publishers. I started learning the bones of music copyright out of necessity. Copyrighting is certainly a large topic and introducing the myths of copyright can provide a solid base to what can and cannot be copyrighted.

Media industries have changed extensively in the past decade along with attitudes towards ownership. While we can all agree that media creators should be compensated fairly for their work many users have abused or ignored this concept with the availability of illegally acquired media. Publishers who have grown with the technology have found success. One significant example would be the subscription model used by Netflix and Spotify. The artist has to make the choice regarding how their work can be used, we have seen growth in this realm by the Creative Commons license.

In the Good Copy/Bad Copy I was immediately taken by the mention of Girl Talk. I have been a fan of Girl Talk for a couple years and I consider what he does to be artistic and original while he uses its and pieces of copyrighted works. As Sir Isaac Newton said we are "Standing on the shoulders of giants". Perhaps this is just a new way to take a creation to "the next level". I was also reminded of the work of Shepard Fairey and his famous HOPE creation for the Obama campaign. I still have much to learn about this minefield of legality called copyright law but these videos have certainly brought me closer to a workable understanding.


  1. Mike, copyright can be an absolute mine field but really it could all be so simple. For musicians our work in trying to police the commercial product from mechanicals has shifted. Fans now want to feel a real bond with the artists, with the consumers and the creators.

    Take a look at the link below, I think you'll find it interesting.

  2. Mike,
    It seems we are Girl Talk fans in common! I liked your Isaac Newton quote; it speaks volumes on the nature of creativity and contemporary art. As creativity and our access to it grow exponentially, so does our personal artistic mental "database" from which we draw upon as artists. Girl Talk exemplifies this idea in a nutshell.
    I also relate to your mention of the HOPE/Obama images; very reminiscent of Warhol, no?

  3. I think that you are probably the first person I've heard who has been an active participant in the music industry who hasn't breathed fire and lava on those who would remix their work or circumvent the traditional model. Thanks for your open-mindedness. I hope that we can all learn from the experiences and make things better for future and current artists.