Can’t make them passive, can only make them pirates.

16 10 2009

“-they’ve been there before — but they aren’t going to stop creating.”

-Henery Jenkins

“Corporations have a right to keep copyright but they have an interest in releasing it.”

-Henry Jenkins

Convergence culture has no better friend than George Lucas.  Think the relationship of convergence media was good only for pop culture.  Fair use and collaborators are continuing to sell the Lucas trademark Star Wars films in ways that Lucas nor his high paid Hollywood allies ever dreamed.  In return, the fans have gained a generation worth of myths and tales (Jenkins, 2006).  This is a culture where everyone wins.  New and emerging artist take their stab at telling their own tales using the Lucas fantasy.  These new editors and filmmakers, armed with tools like Youtube and today’s wide range of cameras and editing software, now participate with an audience, engaged and interactive.  These are today’s storytellers communicating in creative voice to spread previous fantasies and myths of heroes and villains.  These new films push the original ideas into a new realm of interaction and engagement.  Communities of filmmakers learn from watching each other and furthering their own skills.

DJ’s have understood this since the 70’s when they started sampling beats, scratching records, and using vocals tracks to create what is hip-hop.  The original mash up culture may in fact be hip-hop.  The very nature of the DJ, MC, Break Dancers and graffiti artwork all feed off each other in a participatory fashion.  These elements started in the underground and drove quickly to the top.  Bringing with it, hip-hop inspired millions world wide, gave a voice to people of all types, and made billions of dollars in music sales, concerts, fashion, and film.   Even though people thought hip-hop would be a quick fad, it is here to stay 30 years later.  Suppose we criminalize hip-hop.   Would it go quietly back underground?

If societies are to progress, freedom has to be guarded.  The mind develops a memory of the tales of our time.  Once the tales begin to guide us, they cannot leave the psyche.  In the same way, though copyright exists to protect investment and self-preservation, it should not exist to limit the tales we tell or the way in which we tell them.  Nor will it ever be able to stop the new media entrepreneurs from building on solid foundations.  Collaborators will not be prohibited.   Literacy is advancing.  The forms in which our stories exist are being reinvented everyday.  There are no new stories, only new ways of telling them.  The people are speaking and speaking to audiences like never before.  The evolution of democracy is happening.  Billy Joel put it best, “We didn’t start the fire, it was always burning, since the world’s been turning.”

Reference:

Jenkins, Henry.  2006.  Convergence Culture.  New York.  New York University Press.

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