The law is a Kookaburra

February 6, 2010 § 1 Comment

I’m of course paraphrasing “The Law is an Ass” and assuming the expression is in the public domain!

Brett Gaylor’s recent documentary rip! A Remix Manifesto raises some interesting issues in an age where someone’s “intellectual property” can be quoted or morphed with the simple click of a mouse.

The film’s idea of a “remixer’s manifesto” cleverly sums up the clash between creativity and the proprietorial control over ideas.  It says,

1. Culture always builds on the past.

2. The past always tries to control the future.

3. Our future is becoming less free.

4. To build free societies you must limit control of the past.

To many this may sound anarchic and could end civilization as we know it.

A classic example of applying outdated rules of law to contemporary society was in the famous case fought in the early 70s by the now renowned QC Geoffrey Robertson for the publishers of Oz magazine in London.  Charged with “Conspiracy to corrupt public morals” a British law dating from the late 19th century, the publishers could have faced up to 20 years for their “obscene publication”.  Robertson was able to show that society had changed since the days those laws were made, and they were acquitted.  The world continued to turn and civilization did not end.

Surely copyright law also needs to move with the times.

Click here for the link to RiP! A Remix Manifesto where you can actually watch the film here and make mashups of it yourself.  A sort of web 2.0 documentary/online conversation.


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§ One Response to The law is a Kookaburra

  • Yvonne says:

    I’m afraid the estate of Charles Dickens is going to come after to you for that flagrant appropriation of his words.

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