Here’s where we can talk about the Lawrence Lessig reading, “RW, Revised,” and where we might as well also talk a bit about Rip! A Remix Manifesto since Lessig is really talking about stuff in that movie– or, more accurately, Brett Gaylor’s film is really talking about Lessig’s book, Remix.
This essay is a chapter in Lessig’s Remix, which (as Adam pointed out!) is available at Scibd in a fairly annoying format– I don’t think you can easily just download this and read it, right? I think Lessig is a very straight-forward and approachable writer, and in the nutshell, I think he is answering here the questions “why can’t people just follow copyright laws and keep coloring in-between the lines like they are supposed to?” and also “why does any of this really matter?” We’re not really doing “remixes” per se in this class, but beyond their artistic, political, and educational values, I think you can see the ways in which this approach to media has influence on even less artistic/more practical uses of new media– like PSAs, for example.
Two other quick points: I think the part about blogging is a little dated in that I think that what blogging is and the extent to which it is still being practiced has really changed and/or morphed into things like Facebook and Twitter. The fact that Lessig doesn’t really talk about this stuff in a book that’s only about six years old speaks to the speed this stuff moves. Second, the Johan Söderberg stuff he references is pretty interesting. Check out “Audiovisions” and “Read My Lips” part of his web site, soderberg.tv.
The movie I’d encourage you to watch (let’s call this a semi-optional reading) is RiP! A Remix Manifesto. Like I said, it’s a movie by a Canadian filmmaker named Brett Gaylor that is about remix culture– it puts images and sounds to a lot of the ideas that Lessig is talking about in his work, and vice versa. It’s a 2008 film, so it too is already a little “long in the tooth,” as they say. But I think it’s a really engaging movie, one that I regularly use in my first year writing classes as a sort of “framing device” for the whole term– I make students do research projects about some aspect of the movie, which, as you’ll see even if you only watch part of it, means that there’s a lot of different things students could write about here!
This embedded video below comes from the National Film Board of Canada web site, but you can also watch it on Hulu or on Vimeo here.