What is originality?
Intellectual property and what it constitutes is an interesting discussion these days. What restrictions should be placed on ideas? Not the lawyer’s definition, but the layman’s. Most marketers are of the mindset that stealing is not only sanctioned but should be rewarded.
This shift in thinking did not come easily and has only been earned over the past decade. DMCA take down notices are still a fact of life and large corporations are still very resistant to anyone getting a hold of their content and manipulating it in a way out of their control.
Despite the best efforts of traditional avenues of control? The war is largely over.
“In reality, these companies lost control a long time ago; the fans can do pretty much anything they want with these brands and with a high level of visibility and going after them is a bit like Brier Rabbit pummeling away at the tar baby. Yet, even pretty innovative companies are getting trapped in the internal politics around television production and promotion, incapable of forming meaningful partnerships with their most active and visible fans, and thus almost certain to start acting in ways that are going to leave them, to continue the metaphor, looking “stuck up”. ~ Henry Jenkins, Going “Mad”: Creating Fan Fiction 140 Characters at a Time
Creative ideas are being remixed, reformatted and bent to adhere to the current problem. It’s hard to find a truly original idea. After all, we are exposed to so much information on a daily basis it’s next to impossible not to take a little here and a little there as long as the outcome is different.
This can be especially true if the content is made readily available online and isn’t protected.
Sharing is creation
This leads into an interesting discussion: What constitutes creativity?
Creation is simply adding your piece to the larger puzzle. If you participate in the elevation of an idea onto a new level you are just as much responsible for something’s success then the originator of the content.
My only requirement for creation is this: An idea that independently or collectively that adds a new wrinkle to a pre-existing concept.
Seems simple doesn’t it? The reality is that it isn’t. Coming up with something that can provide utility and coolness in a new dimension is often harder than the creation of something new. Just ask anyone who has tried to make a sequel.
Wikipedia is updated in real-time, songs are made public before the album is released, and advertisers are encouraging and embracing the concept of user generated content. The time between creation and remix is continually getting shorter.
Then there are the new social consumers. Determined to take things into their own hands – conversing, commenting, criticizing, creating — they feel no qualms about bringing a brand down, celebrating the products they love, or becoming brands themselves, capable of building their own multi-million dollar companies with little more than a digital camera, a folding table and a knack for leveraging a community. ~ The Future of Advertising, Edward Boches
Is this a good thing? I happen to think so. After all, I’m of the mindset that any contribution to creation no matter how small should be rewarded.
Feel free to remix this post as well. (As long as you link to it!)
Image Source: Tim Wang