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Assignment # 4: Reuse

Within the last week of class, we have studied the effects of technology in media, specifically the issue of reusing information. With modern digital technology it is easy to find, discover, use, duplicate, and alter different forms of media. We are able to circumvent copyright laws through file sharing and internet sources, and through further means alter and redistribute them. This has lead to several ethical and legal dilemmas concerning cultural and intellectual properties, and the remixing or redistribution of certain material based off of them.  Many injustices have accord do to the relative newness of such issues due to the advances in technology, as well as the unfair and outdated laws that fail to encompass the changes of the digital age. Therefore we as a digital culture must adapt with the times instead of remaining in the past, and adjust our legal and distribution system in order to fix these problems.

For example, in the documentary “Protecting the family Silver”, we learn about copy write laws and the ethics of using materials belonging to specific cultures. It begins by telling the tale of a New Zealand musician who is unable to use her own name because it had been copywriter be a German company. The film then discusses the Maori people, who have had their cultural material (art, music, dance, tools, etc) used by various companies around the world. This raises the ethical dilemma about what can be owned and distributed. The Maori should have a right to control material based on their culture, if for nothing other than to make sure it isn’t tarnished. If someone can take a part of your culture and use it without your consent or knowledge, then something should be done about it. Then there’s the issue of remixing. It is taking the works of someone else and altering it. It is the same basic concept of the Maori, except it involves specific pieces of work rather than a culture itself. Personally i think that, as long as credit is given to the source material, remixes are OK. the digital culture is built upon improving the past. we draw inspiration from previous artist’s works and make them fit ourselves. Remixing is another method of doing this, and the outdated laws need to compensate for this in order to allow creativity to evolve without ostracizing those who try to make the changes. Basically, give credit where its due, and everything should be fine.

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