Who´s GrieFing Now?

March 12, 2008

Summary of Hector Postigo’s Talk: The New Prosumership: When Producers and Consumers are One

Filed under: Uncategorized — virtualsacrilege @ 4:06 pm
In this brief presentation I highlighted some instances of legal and cultural transgressions in intellectual property. Those transgressions are made by an emerging prosumership that puts pressure on the rationale for IP ownership and its enforcement through technological means. At the same time those transgressions involve assaults on culturally powerful memes over authorship. In many the talk was about the tactics that some use to enforce and/ reclaim “ownership/control” of cultural products in online or digital media. Ultimately I argued that these transgressions are a healthy step in a new productive paradigm that incorporates active audiences.
I presented 3 instances of techno/legal/cultural transgressions (The Grey Tuesday Event, iTunes DRM Hacks, and The GI Joe Mod for Battlefield 1942) and tied them together as instances of an ongoing struggle over control over content.
Ultimately I asked the audience to imagine a distribution system where movies, games, music are sold free of all digital locks and including the editing tools need to make mash ups and other interesting reconfigurations; to imagine a system where re-broadcast was built into the distribution model with revenue flowing not only to the original creators but also to the re-broadcasters. This is happening in part (YouTube but users don’t get revenue) but it is not systematized and certainly not part of the system of production at the level of big media (even though the prosumership is quite ready to take part in such a system). So maybe the last cultural/legal transgression that needs to be addressed is one of the defines, in our experience of media, the finality of a cultural product, ”the myth of the finished product” if you will.
The cultural weight of the written word, the permanence of cellulose, the ephemeral un-capturable fleetingness of the broadcast are all myths of the past, the finished work of authors and media producers is not the end of the story but the beginning;its the jumping off point for millions of deriviative works that have value both to producers, prosumers and culture writ large.
By addressing and transgressing this last norm we might just tackle the gross inefficiencies that plague copyright law on derivative works that prevent the maximization of vale of a products that are never really finished…this is of course the nature of all information in the digital world…
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