Needing Permission

The idea that we can own images and sounds and less tangible things like ideas has been around for a while. From the early days of Disney with parody to today’s torrenting, people have always found a way around this ownership. A lot of information about Disney in this blog comes from the first chapter of Lawrence Lessig’s Free Culture, focusing on Disney’s use of other’s ideas .

Many of Disney’s stories come from fairy tales such as those by the Brothers Grimm (eg Sleeping Beauty, Snow White and Cinderella). This is because they are part of the public domain and outside of copyright regulations. No one looks at this and calls it stealing. But if we were to watch the movie without paying for it (ie torrenting) then this would be considered stealing. Why is this?

Take this article on the Lego movie. The Lego movie was realeased so long after the rest of the world you cant really blame Australians for stealing it. I know that public holidays and whatnot are important to release dates but does it really matter when many have already seen it in HD for free? Game of Thrones is another good example where Australians pirate the show incessantly. In 2013 the American Ambassador to Australia pleaded with us to stop, claiming stealing is stealing. What is ignored by the creators and HBO (the creators of GOT) is the major cultural difference of Australia in that we aren’t huge users of pay tv. You cant justify a large subscrtopion for a single show when we have a multitude of free to air stations and the internet.

Perhaps Australians run with the view that someone else more able or someone with better access can pay for it (I know I do). But is this so different from Disney appropriating the ideas of others and letting us pay them big money for it? Probably, since there is still a huge amount of creativity involved. But I think the point I am trying to make is that we have always wanted access to idea (eg Disney early last century up til now) and the more digital access we have the more we want to be able to view these ideas at our own convenience. Basically, the increase in technology has made us spoilt. So instead of being amazed at having synchronized sound with our movie we want to watch the movie for free and complain about it if the special effects are not up to scratch.

In any case, creative appropriation will always be around:

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