In class, we presented the debate of copyright versus creative freedom in an exclusive model. My group debated that yes, copyright limits creative freedom. In the complete opposite approach, both sides can be both right and or wrong.

Digital Media Ethics says, “This ability to think beyond the choices initially presented to us is not only a mark of critical and independent thinking- one that helps us see the possibilities of more than one claim being true; it may also help us break through what logicians rightly call “false dichotomies.” Such dichotomies are false precisely because they exclude options that should be considered.”

In the argument of copyrighting limits creative freedom, both sides are both right and or wrong. To begin, different countries hold different views of ethics. What may be right and accepted in the United States, could be totally opposite in China or elsewhere. Who is to say that we are right and they are wrong? For example (given in DME), in Thailand a gift of a nicely photocopied version of an important book in philosophy of technology breaks copyright laws in the United States. However, in Thailand the gift is a way of expressing the highest respect for the work of the author. The United States holds a different view that the work was stolen and must not be produced as such. Neither Thailand nor the United States are wrong. Both are right because they represent two different cultures that are allowed to live by their own set of rules and ethics.

Another side to the issue, copyrighting encourages and discourages remixing. Both encouraging and discouraging remixing can both, once again, be right on both sides. Discouraging remixing allows for new creative freedom that is not dependent on what is already creative. It promotes originality and changes the artist to create something fresh, new, different and out of the ordinary. How can this motivation be wrong? On the other hand, encouraging remixing gives the artist an unlimited source of media and material to create something new, but in a different newness. The artist takes something that is already created to modify and perfect it or create a new media with the old to enhance a new art form and expression.

If we focus on the right or wrong exclusively, we miss the point that two things can be right or wrong at the same time. With an inclusive view, we are able to understand more options and listen to the other side of the argument more openly. It challenges our thinking that we have to be “right” and the other is “wrong.” Submitting to both sides allows us to respect other cultures, norms and ethics freely with the mindset that we could be wrong, too. We won’t ever reach a middle ground or compromise without respect and understanding of the other side.

For more information about the current United States copyright laws, check out New Media Rights.

Issues on remixing can be both right and wrong. Here Girltalk uses remixing to express his own creativity, while in the image below, creative expression is utilized with no other forms of media.

Neither way of creating music is wrong; the main point is expression.