The Wonderful Thing About…copyright? copyleft? creative commons?

First I’ll begin with a story from my life that I remembered while thinking about this topic:

When I was a little girl my mother used to babysit a family from our neighborhood.  There was a boy my age and a girl about three years  younger than myself.  On days there was no school they would often spend the entire day with us.  One of these days I remember very clearly.  I was drawing in the dining room and was very proud of my work.  I had drawn a pumpkin with a cartoon face, my best art piece I had ever created, and I stuck it on the fridge for everyone to admire.  Well admire they did and the younger girl loved it so much she decided to copy it.  I was furious.  How dare she even try to copy my picture.  I had worked hard to produce that drawing.  Could she not see that?  My mother took me aside and sat me down. “You should be happy,” she said. “You should be happy that this girl liked your picture so much that she wanted to draw one like  yours. But her picture is going to be a little different and she can be proud of her drawing too.”

Now for my ideas:

After watching the documentary RiP: A Remix Manifesto, I have been left with a lot of questions when it comes to copyright and such. My husband and I try to be conscientious about buying music, movies, and tv shows that we enjoy. I believe artists should be payed for their work and that credit should go to them.  I don’t know a whole lot about remixing, but I think we do need to be respectful.  I’m not sure I agree with the idea that we should have the right to do with what we want to a song someone else wrote… At the same time I don’t think we need to be making criminals of everyone who downloads or remixes (and I if I remember correctly Girl Talk [remix artist featured in the film] was to do things legally it would cost him a lot of money…). I especially don’t think that Happy Birthday is something we should be paying royalties for.  This documentary raised more questions for me than it did answers.  It talked about a lot of what people want and what big corporations want, but what do artist want? So really I don’t know exactly where I stand.  So for now I’ll continue to buy my music on itunes and pay for the movies I want to watch.  I’m happy to do it as long as it is supporting the artists who worked hard to produce something others could enjoy.

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