Everything is a Remix
RiP: A Remix Manifesto
These two documentaries are a great introduction to the current issues surrounding copyright law. I particularly enjoyed RiP: A Remix Manifesto. It lays out the Remixer's Manifesto and talks about
how the protected ideas of corporations of yesterday are stifling the creative potential of companies today. The general premise is that nothing exists in a vacuum and anything new is just a novel combination of things that we already have. If we are not allowed to have access to ideas that came before there is no way to generate new and interesting ideas.
After watching these documentaries it is hard to side with the corporations and not the tiny upstarts that are making something new from old ideas. But as an artist, musician, or writer it is difficult not to feel threatened by the potential of having your images, music and books simply stolen. I feel that the copyright laws at the beginning of the 20th century had it right. Fifteen years after the death of the artist is enough time for protection of individual interests. Anything more is simply protecting the interests of a massive corporate machine at the cost of public good.
Are ideas property? I don't know. I feel that ideas are like children, they are your responsibility for the first 18 years, but after that it's unethical to keep them locked up in the basement.