Monday, September 8, 2008

Ted Talk Summary

In 1906 John Phillip Sousa said “These talking machines are going to ruin the artistic development of music in this country. When I was a boy in front of every house in the summer evenings you would find young people together singing the songs of the day or the old songs. Today you hear these infernal machines going night and day. We will not have a vocal cord left.” The purpose of the Ted Talk is to look at the impact of technology on our society. Through the discussion Larry Lessig uses three stories to compose his agreement. In his first story he examines the RW (Read Write) culture versus the RO (Read Only) culture.

The difference between the two cultures is all about user participation. In the read write world users can create and recreate works. Whereas in the read-only world, users have limited creativity in what they can do. In the read only world it reflects the title where you can only read. Lessig believes that these new laws will hinder creativity. In a way he was right. As time went on society became more of a read only culture.

In the second story two chicken farmers observed planes flying over their fields. When the planes flew overhead their chickens would mimic the behavior and attempt to fly in formation right at the chicken house. The two chicken farmers felt that the planes were trespassing on their property. Because they owned the land, they believed they owned the sky above their land to a certain extent. When they went to court the judged ruled that they could not own the skies, because everyone who rode on planes would be facing lawsuits.

In his third story Lessig discusses broadcasting and their control over the airwaves. The company ASCAP was the first company to try to control the airwaves. They initially raised rates to broadcast, but later was taken to court. BMI, which were taking recreated works and releasing them to their subscribers for free, began to take many of the ASCAP subscribers. Finally ASCAP broke down

What Lessig is trying to sum up is the reemergence of the read write culture. With companies like Youtube and MySpace individuals are gaining more and more freedom of what they can post on the internet. They also are beginning to write for “the love of the work and not for money” Lessig states.

Lessig then goes into two examples of anime music videos (AMV). These videos show of Japanese animation with popular music in the background. What Lessig wanted to show was how these amateurs could take these animations and add other artists work to make a complete music video. This type of creativity has become popular epically in American culture. This is quite funny because you would think that these amv videos would be the most popular overseas. Another term for these videos is called mash-ups.

Lessig then attempts to close on the topic of re-creativity. He goes into how our society has been on a decline of creativity and how the new laws have been cracking down on creativity.

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