Last year at SilverDocs, I saw a great piece of agitprop – RIP, A Remix Manifesto by Brett Gaylor. In this film, Gaylor makes the case for remix culture: essentially he asserts that all culture is in the process of continual remix. And he also asserts that revisions to the copyright laws of the US do real harm to culture, creativity, and society in general.
I have some sympathy for his argument, particularly with respect to the music industry. I think he makes the case that copyright extensions have locked up borrowed music in the hands of the people who happened to be borrowing it at the right time. (The song, Bittersweet Symphony by The Verve The Rolling Stones is a great case in point).
In any case, if you make any of your living off the sale or licensing of copyrighted material, then you owe it to yourself to watch this movie. It will allow you to see how copyright holders are viewed in some circles. (It will make you angry at some points – that’s part of what makes it great agitprop).
Here’s the movie. Appropriately available free on the internet.