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Copyright term is one of the most sacred areas for the film industry at large. ”The longer the better” says the voice from on high, and everyone seems to blindly accept this creed. I wonder how true this is, particularly for independent and Truly Free filmmakers. I certainly don’t feel this is so for culture in general. We are definitely being denied participating in a growing wave of remix & mashup work that is particularly interesting and relevant to the world today.
aboriginal societies in which the person of consequence — the man or woman who is deemed worthy of adulation, respect and emulation — is not the one who accumulates the most goods but the one who disperses them. Gift economies, as Mauss defines them, are marked by circulation and connectivity: goods have value only insofar as they are treated as gifts, and gifts can remain gifts only if they are continually given away. This results in a kind of engine of community cohesion, in which objects create social, psychological, emotional and spiritual bonds as they pass from hand to hand.
Unlike a commodity, whose value begins to decline the moment it changes hands, an artwork gains in value from the act of being circulated—published, shown, written about, passed from generation to generation — from being, at its core, an offering.
This morning BoingBoing’s post on Pam Samuelson’s Free Culture 2008 lecture then spelled out another reason why we need Copyright Reform. She cites an article by John Tehranian (download it there) where he demonstrates that in a normal day (without any P2P activity) he potentially violated copyright law 83 times and was liable for $12.5M in fines. That is in a single day!