New Media Musings’ J.D. Lasica reviews the documentary Willful Infringement for Mindjack. After having been crucified by Disney for creating trailers that included Mouse snippets, the director traipsed the country talking to people whose work had been stifled by overzealous copyright enforcement.
“He … interviews … a pair of party clowns in Anaheim, California, who were warned not to create balloon animals for kids that looked too much like Tigger, Barney, or the Aladdin genie.”
Question: If the same kind of “chilling effects” enforcement currently being leveled against any use of music or moving images had historically been imposed on quotations of text, how would our culture be different today?
“My mother was a children’s librarian, and she imbued me with a world view that culture is a conversation, that you don’t own stories, you share them,” he tells me. “What has happened over the past few decades is that culture has become privatized to the point where we’re now facing a crisis. We need to remember we can still quote and sample, we still have fair use. As a free culture, we’re still allowed to do things without permission.”