Remix Manifesto Reaction

I just finished watching the Remix Manifesto video (because I signed up for the class late).  It was a pain for me to watch.  Let me explain.

Obviously there’s an advantage to using other people’s IP.  No one debates this.  The film harped on this extensively, and tried to make people feel this emotionally.  But… it didn’t talk about what the cost of allowing people to use other people’s IP (the cost is that it decreases the incentive for people to produce content in the first place).  You can talk about the advantages all you want, but to make a logically compelling point, you have to show that they outweigh the costs.  And in order to do that, you have to address the costs.  This film didn’t do that at all. (I happen to agree with the director about IP being way out of control, but he still didn’t come close to providing reason for this.)

And this leads me to a point I have to make about film, and art in general: you could get all the little details right, but if you miss the big picture, the end product probably won’t be very good.  I think a lot of art focuses extensively on little details (probably because it makes people feel sophisticated when they do so), but fails to acknowledge the big picture.  In the case of the Remix Manifesto, I think it did a good job with a lot of details and cinematography, but it was still unpleasant to watch because it completely missed the big picture of communicating to the viewer in a clear and obvious how and why IP is too restrictive.

I want to make a separate point about remixes of music. says that we like music because it fits a template we have of what music should be like, and then deviates from that template just slightly enough to be novel.  That’s basically what a remix is.

– Adam Zerner


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