Earlier this week I found out that my computer had not caught an easily fixable virus, but that its hard drive was failing. I am no stranger to hard drive failure, it happened to me about a year and a half ago and luckily I had all of my music on my iPod, and all of my pictures and files on a flash drive. So this time I wasn’t too worried, having transferred my documents to my Elon server, and I gave a flash drive to the IT department for all my photos (they won’t fit, but they’re being nice and storing them on their server space for me). However this time, I am losing all my music. I don’t keep all of my music on an iPod any more (it a moment of altruism, I gave it to my Dad, who needed an upgrade from his original brick of an iPod), because I use my iPhone exclusively for music, and only selected playlists for the car or working out, so all 18 GB or so of music is going away with my hard drive. I’m being forced to face the future now. It’s unrealistic to fight with iTunes to try to get all of my purchased music, and I am NOT importing literally hundreds of CDs from my collection into iTunes again, which means I’m going to rely on streaming for music. This is exactly the future Lessig and Anderson are predicting; more people are going to give up on their digital collections of music, movies and their physical collections of books in favor of the cloud. And I’m looking forward to this. The long tail of content that Anderson describes is exactly what I will consume. I can hear top 40 hits on the radio, so what I really want is to hear Fleetwood Mac or Mazzy Star on demand without having to keep their albums along with countless others on my hard drive.
I have not been able to put down Remix, our follow-up to Lessig’s Code V2.0. The whole idea of copyright in today’s world is becoming increasingly more ridiculous as I read this book. Why should I have to get permission to post a picture and a link to a news article on my personal blog? It’s not robbing anyone, it’s creating new content and actually helping those websites by generating my traffic. Why should any artist be prohibited from sampling the works of other artists? A sequence of notes which creates a melody is not that different from lines of code that build a website or a flash animation. Since we steal one all the time, why can’t we steal the other? I watched a documentary last night that deals with the same questions I ask and Lessig asks in Remix, it’s called “Press Pause Play” and you can find more information about it here. One of the interviewees said that artists don’t create new technologies, new technologies are created for completely separate purposes, then artists take those technologies and do something completely different with them. Today’s technologies are powerful tools for artists, and yet copyrights are preventing innovation and potential growth in a new online economy. I’m sold on the idea that less copyright regulation and more sharing will benefit both producers and consumers of culture. The rest of the world just needs to get on board too!