Thursday, January 19, 2012

SOPA, Creativity, You and I

With the SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and the protests that followed it, I think our collective minds are thinking of issues around piracy and and just plain copying. And how much to protect the artists who create it and then the companies involved in turning it into a 'property' and thereby trying to strong arm governments to pass bills that could give power to indiscriminately and without process or trial shut down entire websites without as much as a 'by your leave'. I was discussing this with friends and the biggest and most assuring fact that is staring at me straight in the face is that the internet unifies the world and brings a transparency and accountability to government and larger administrative bodies like never before. And this is because of the power and prerogative that the internet bestows on the individual of this generation. Whether it is the Anna Hazare movement in India or the sizable withrawal of support for SOPA in the U.S. It happens when you and I choose to speak for and stand up for what we believe in. It happens when we care enough to do that. The heartening fact is more and more of us are choosing to.
Links for the curious: Why SOPA is dangerous by Chris Heald at Mashable. What is SOPA and how does it work? by Nilay Patel at The Verge. SOPA page at Wikipedia which is available through the blackout period

And click here to read the powerfully worded article which prompted me to write this post.

A few months back we saw another side of the coin with the a lot of us bloggers coming together for the 1st time and discussing blatant piracy and copying in our midst. Copying is sad and it is ugly and the creator certainly feels a pinch when someone takes what you thought of and worse takes it further, reaches more people, either with marketing or affordability. Creativity and ambition don't always go hand in hand and there are many dynamics to this game. At a very superficial level there will always be people who are better at creating and and another lot of people who once they see a possibility are better at taking it further, making it bigger and even better. And there is a place for all of this. And each must and will eventually do what they can. Perhaps the thing to remember here is what you can do is stretchable and elastic and flexible and can grow and expand, evolve and change as you will. Which means a creator can create and market to a whole new level if they wished so, and a vise versa. This I say for myself as much as much as for for anyone reading this. And what I have been clumsily trying to say is put so beautifully here.
"Its not where you take things from - its where you take them to" Jean Luc Godard


bhumika said...

That's my favourite quote and is pinned on my office wall :)

GB said...

How true, Vineeta. I signed the petition, hubby did too. I think the internet's magic is that it fosters creativity and has increased our collective awareness and intelligence to levels hitherto impossible. This particular law was designed by BIG corporates to make their lives easier--it wouldn't have done much for the common man. Also, I feel we need to be more generous with our thoughts and ideas, think of all humans as one entity and try to temper down the egotistical "I" a bit. So an idea gets copied--does that bankrupt our brain? stop new ideas from coming? if not, nurture(and push those limits) your own creativity....At least that's how I look at it.

Of course that doesn't mean that I would condone blatant stealing of copyright, but perhaps we can find a better way to curb it.

(Sorry for the bhashan, I just feel a little too strongly about certain things and when I saw that your post was headed in the same direction, couldn't help pitching in.

(Loved the post, as you can prob. tell by now.)


vk said...

Very eloquently put Vineeta! Loved it...
Vani :))

vineeta said...

Gagan, There is no need to apologise. I think this is home tirf and all of us feel very strongly about this. It is about freedom and flexibility of expression. And this is exactly the kind of dialogue which unites the internet users and makes this a supportive and encouraging place that it is.
And while it is important to not encourage copiers, it will always happen and perhaps it even should in a healthy kind of way.

vineeta said...

Bhumika, This is my favourite quote too and that is why I remembered to pull it out because it was very relevant to what is happening.

Vani, thank you. It is not often that I speak about things I really feel strongly about. Maybe I should :)

pRiyA said...

You have articulated a complex subject very competently. This show of how immensely powerful the internet is as a voice of the people is immensely gratifying isn't it? (Somehow I feel I should raise my chai glass to Assange because somewhere I feel he started it all - this business of holding governments accountable to its people).

And yes, let us derive all the creative inspiration we can from what we see on the net as sometimes that is all there is for some of us.

Namrata said...

Hi Vineeta! I like the way you put together your thoughts and views on the subject. And I just ordered the book --- can't wait to get it!!! :)

Kamini said...

Brilliantly put Vineeta. Am sharing as my FB status with all due credit to this link. Thanks girl!

Elizabeth Maxson said...

Hi Vineeta!

I was going through your blog to catch up and how much there is to read! I just had to stop and comment on this post as it touches me. Forever I have been saying that there is no such thing as an original idea. I have had many things stolen from me, and many times did not even know it until someone brought it to my attention. And when I mean stolen....STOLEN...not a thing changed. When younger, I would be outraged, but as I got older, I found myself sad for the person who felt the need to take without giving credit. I always felt fairly generous in sharing ideas or why steal?

My motto is: there is enough to go around for everyone. Meaning...I can't serve everyone or sell to everyone anyway. And if someone is so dry and out of ideas that they have to take my OLD idea (yes, even if it is on the net for only a is already old because I am now onto my next, new idea popping around in my head), then they need my old idea more than I need to hang onto it.

Whatever we create (I think) doesn't just come from ourselves, we have help. I know that every thing I ever made, I had a partner helping me, so I really can't call it all "mine." So, if what I create (along with my heavenly partner) inspires someone else to take that, and then hopefully find something within themselves to create something even more unique. But those who just take, but don't find something within themselves unique, well, they just cheated themselves, now didn't they? And that is what I find sad.

And besides, truly creative people are just that...creative, and always will be. It is part of our DNA. Either you have it or you don't. Those who truly are, tend to want to share and those who aren't, want to keep only because somewhere down deep, they are aware they have a limited supply of ideas.

Just a thought. :-)

Thanks for sharing yourself with are truly creative in my book :-)

Big hug