May 7, 2004 · Siva Vaidhyanathan
Joe Buck commented on one of my earlier posts that when we (or I) use phrases like “creative communities” we tend to slight coders. “Besides the fact that a lot of geeks resent it, it builds unnecessary walls. Many on Jack Valenti�s side of the divide treasure their creative freedom and fight like dogs against any who would block it,” Buck writes.
I could not agree more. I guess I assume too easily that when we discuss copyright, Free Culture, and creativity, we are discussing the vast array of human creative activities. And I assume (perhaps incorrectly) that my audiences see creativity flowing over arbitrary barriers as I do. After all, “convergence” is not just a marketing or engineering concept. It is the essense of stunning creativity, whether embodied in a Picasso sculpture, a Mozart opera, or a phat video game.
So I guess we need to make this point more overtly. After all, as Buck points out, each sub-audience of creators (musicians, composers, screenwriters, directors, hackers, coders, photographers) tend to see these issues in their local contexts — “how does Kelly v. Arriba affect me?”
When I speak publicly, I try to get musicians, for instance, to see that Alice Randall’s experience with getting The Wind Done Gone published is something they might have to experience themselves. And that as cultural citizens, they should be concerned about her experience anyway.
BTW, in The Anarchist in the Library, I make the case that the appeals court had to cheat to get The Wind Done Gone published. It is not a parody of Gone with the Wind. It is a transformative work that should have been allowed on those grounds. But the court was not willing to move beyond the narrowest reading of Campbell v. Acuff Rose. So we are stuck trying to force non-parodies into parodic costumes just to avoid prior restraint.