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news and thoughts on and around the development of the iCite net
by Jay Fienberg

Public parcels of packet publishing

posted: Sep 11, 2003 11:26:03 PM

David Weinberger aptly describes the public meaning of creative works of music and art, especially in the online-public, in his It's not about the files. Joi Ito adds his own perspective on this in his own It's not about the files.

I really love the way David puts it when he says:

. . .the public is constituted to a large degree by the works that are made public.

I think we, the common, Westernized, world society, are so persistently and sustained losing our community / cultural spaces, and even more, our sense of belonging to any common public identity, that we fall into imagining our larger sphere of relationships in business-terms first, rather than in terms of community / culture.

There are commercial reasons and contexts for art—there are even principally commercial arts, like designing breakfast cereal packaging. Maybe all this DRM and commercial valuation of music and other arts online is just the ultimate secular realization of art: it's first and foremost a business.

But, if we feel something sacred about music or art—if we actually love music and art, our primary relationship to it and to the people who make it is so very different than a commercial one.

Based on what is going on with the RIAA, I want to boycott all RIAA-company released music artists. But, there are artists whose music I literally love, and I basically can't help myself from buying their CDs.

So, in that case, the commercial interests exploit my feeling. But, that exploitation is getting in the way, and I want access without it. (I said some more about this in my recent post on Microcontent music / art community / theatre / gallery.)

I also really love the way Joi puts it when he says:

At one level, we're all conduits passing inspiration and knowledge from the past to the future by re-mixing, rendering and editing things that inspire us in ways that will inspire others. Talking about copyright is talking about the files. We should be talking about how to increase the commons and enrich culture. THAT's not about the files, it's about the the commons.

With the iCite net project, a large assumption is that people will want to allow their website content to be "remixed". The most common form of remixing is just a citation, like I just did with quotes from David and Joi. There are musical and visual forms of citation as well as textual ones.

One of the ideas of the iCite net is, assuming everyone can already copy, download, remix, and/or republish your work, encourage all the forms of dissemination but support good, consistent, citation—connect a work with its sources of inspiration, in some ways like how I connected this post to David's and Joi's posts.

It just occurred to me the other day that even people who syndicate their blogs via RSS feeds might be uncomfortable supporting more remixing than their RSS feeds (i.e., republishing remixes of multiple syndicated feeds). But, I also think the link-relationship that could be there between the creator of a work and its "readers", however many levels of remix the work goes through, is the value. It's not about the files . . .

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trackback from: the iCite net development blog
posted: Sep 14, 2003 11:11:01 PM
title: Recent rants on the RIAA's destruction of value

These posts from Kevin and Tim are must-reads. Highly recommended.

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