Friday, November 11, 2005

Lessig is More

Culture is remix. Knowledge is remix. Politics is remix. Everyone in the life of
producing and creating engages in this practice of remix. Companies do it.
Politicians do it... We all do it. This is what life is in the expression of
creativity. Remix is how we live.

This is what Lawrence Lessig, the pioneer of the Creative Commons limited copyrighting system, has said. It brings together ideas from the world of Web 2.0 to Dance music, another of my favourite subjects.

In Dance music, the sample is king and the records and CDs of the past provide fodder for today. No longer constrained by 'the cover version', producers can take a snippet of someone else's work and turn it into something new, the remix. With the proper licensing, and respect paid to the original work, the creative process has built upon and not stolen the creators intellectual property. Less maybe more, but more built upon less can be even more (if you get my drift).

And so it seems to be in the world of Web 2.0 where content is recycled many times by aggregation or services adding value to the services created by others. When a PC is built, the manufacturers don't build all of the components themselves. They are happy to buy in commodity chips and boards. Their intellectual property is in the unique way they have assembled the parts and added their own 'je ne sais quoi'. For many years the software industry has been attempting the same - allowing people to use libraries of code in the run-time of other programs.

The new idiom of a service running on the internet and accessible by http makes that component very accessible, and with a standard interface that any competent programmer can use. If companies make money out of their unique combinations of such services, and allow others to use the component services that they have created then this can push the rate of advance up to exponential levels.

Keeping information private, which companies spend millions doing every year, may before long be seen as pointless and holding back the tide of human endeavour.

Charge for only what you sell, and put the rest of your material in the public domain, should be the philosophy of the new media. The truly creative will get back more than they put in to this democratic exchange. It's a very New Labour economy.

Publish and be damned.

No comments: