last night i was catching up the Utnecast podcasts last night and heard a conversation with copyright activist/writer Cory Doctorow about why he's so passionate about using the internet to give away his work for free. Here he discusses the moral and artistic benefits of giving away his writing for free, and how copying is in our biological genome:
But there's also some moral and artistic benefits in my view. So, artistically, I just can't imagine making art in the 21st century that isn't intended to be copied, unless you're trying to do something that's, like, deliberately anachronistic like, I don't know, being a blacksmith in a pioneer village or something. If you're making art in the 21st century and it's not intended to be copied it's not contemporary, it may be good art, but it's not contemporary art. And I'm a science fiction writer so I'm supposed to at least be engaged with the present, if not the future. Morally, I just have a hard time finding fault with people who copy stuff. I mean, my entire adolescence would've been totally celibate if it wasn't for the mix tape. If I were 17 today, I would be copying with every moment that god sent. I have a 19-month old daughter. And one of the most amazing things that happened in this amazing adventure I've been on with her is when my parents came over to London after she was born and my mom has a PHD in early childhood education. And the kid was only about a week or two old and she sat the kid on her lap and she poked her tongue out at the kid. And the kid had not seen a mirror yet. She didn't know she had a tongue. And yet, this is this cool neuro thing w/ babies the, she stuck her tongue back at my mother. She copied her. Copying is, like, as instinctual as looking for the breast. It's what makes us human. Another way is saying copying is learning. It's really hard to feel like there's any kind of ethical basis to say to people "universal access to knowledge is in our graphs but it's a bad thing"...We all know we're breaking the rules. So I feel like I'm making good art that has an ethical basis for it's existance as well.
for those of you who are unfamiliar with Utnecast, it is my favorite podcast produced by the Utne Reader that showcases emerging ideas (art, science, politics, culture, etc). if you enjoy Madame Lamb, you will enjoy UtneCasts. you can subscribe on iTunes for free: Utnecast at iTunes.