After watching the video “RIP! A Remix Manifesto” produced by Brett Gaylor, I couldn’t help but reflect back on when we dissected the notion of ownership rights and private property and how these concepts are degenerative.
When I envision a regenerative alternative to these phrases I think of a world or place that encourages participation, free exchange of ideas, embracing self-expression, cultural and social traditions.
Brett Gaylor brings it to our attention in the video that as a society our ability to be creative and express ourselves is being challenged everyday by big corporations protecting their intellectual property through patents. He makes four main points in his video which are:
Culture always builds on the past.
As humans we have been copying each other since the beginning of time. Without observing and pulling ideas from others we would not have an evolving culture. That’s what fuels our creative energy and innovation, through the inspiration of others.
The past always tries to control the future.
When big corporations learned that they can begin to create wealth by turning intangible things, like ideas and thoughts from ones mind, into tangible objects that generate money; this need to protect what is theirs came into play.
Our future is becoming less free.
This causes us to become passive consumers begging wealthy and powerful companies to unlock their intellectual property and share it with us. We then become a slave to a small minority of wealthy people and give them control over our rights to be individuals and express ourselves.
To build free societies you must limit the control of the past.
Thankfully there are people like Radiohead who don’t agree with all this power going into only the hands of a few, rather than the people. They decided to stand up for free exchange of creativity and release their music into the internet for free sharing and downloading. This was to not only make free music accessible to all, but encourage everyone to participate in this act.
The sad thing is that not only is our music and movies in danger of being controlled, but everything in our lives. This concept of intellectual property shows that there is no limit to what can be thought of as property.
In the patent and trademark dispute example cases the phrase commodification was defined as something that has no value, but is then given a market value; which threatens cultural and social traditions. Each of the cases, whether it pertained to intricately handwoven textiles from Guatemalan women, seeds from communities in Argentina, or symbols apart of Inuit cultures, these indigenous communities are once again facing colonization imposed by others.
It is unfortunate that we live in a world today where money is the major driving factor towards decision making. Because these large corporations have so much money and Indigenous communities do not, their voices or traditions do not get heard or respected. This results in politicians and lobbyists being swayed in the wrong directions due to corrupt interests in making money or maintaining a strong economy.
Beliefs and practices that indigenous people have should not be allowed to be trademarked and patented because these are not things that can be owned. These traditions, symbols, rituals, and customs are more than just an object that can be owned and sold for profit; these are peoples identities and should preserved and respected.