20th century consumers were considered passive and predictable, participating in what Lessing defines as ‘read only culture’; a time where creativity was consumed but not created by the consumer ; moving into the 21st century we now find ourselves in a new phase defined by Lessing as ‘read-write culture’. Creativity is seen as the literacy of this new generation of active, migratory and socially connected (Jenkins, 2006 p.12) user; Lessing states “we made mixed tapes they remix music, we watched TV they make TV it is the technology that has made them different”.
In this User-generated-content-culture recreation and remixing is all part of our creative expression only one thing stands in the way, copyright ; historically copyright was a federal policy that granted a “limited trade monopoly in exchange for universal use and access” (Collins, 2008, p.1) and not a property right as we now know it. With fair use only serving as a legal defence there was a need for creative freedom, this is where Lessing’s Creative Commons comes in ; the tool allows artist to customise their copyright license and decide how they want the public to use their work, the types of licences are outlined below.
Artists saw creative commons as the liberation from the restrictive nature of copyright and many companies embraced the economic potential of this ecology of a free or freer culture, one of those being the Behance Network.
Royal College of Art Student Sures Kumar tested this new ‘freedom’ raising important questions about artistic ownership with his Pro-Folio project (video above) which created computer generated portfolios for user by ‘borrowing’ creative works by Behance artists. The project “provoked many artists, designers and corporations involved in creative industry” (Cush, 2014), Scott Belsky, founder of Behance made a statement about the incident stating that it “protecting the intellectual property rights of Behance member is of the up most importance” (Cush, 2014); the student agreed to remove the project as the debate project had achieved what it was created for. What is the future for the next generation when copyright, fair use and creative commons is concerned, Lessing outlines what we should’t do:
Just imagine a world without things like this:
Lessing, L 2007, Ted.com , http://www.ted.com/talks/larry_lessig_says_the_law_is_strangling_creativity.
Cush, A 2014 “How Behance Shut Down a Subversive Work of Art”, in Animal, http://animalnewyork.com/2014/behance-used-lawsuit-threat-shut-subversive-art/
Jenkins, H 2006,“Worship at the altar of convergence”: A new paradigm forunderstanding media change. In H. Jenkins, Convergence culture: Where old and new media collide (pp 1-24). New York: New York University Press.
Cucco, M 2009, “The promise is great: the blockbuster and the Hollywood economy”, in International Journal of Cultural studies, vol 7, pp. 33-43
Collins, S 2008, “Recovering fair use”, in Media Culture Journal , Colume 11 , no. 6
*Note images used or compiled can be found in hyperlink above them or referenced in the image