Abstract Edit

"Everything is a Remix" by Kirby Ferguson is a four-part video series in which he claims that the ultimate driver of progress in the arts, technology, and society is borrowing from others. Ferguson believes that everything is a remediation of existing material, e.g. music, film, etc. Ferguson's concepts of "copy, transform, and combine" help to convey his message that it is nearly impossible to create something without drawing inspiration from something else; in some cases, people will directly sample existing material in the process of creating their own.

Key Concepts Edit

In the final part of the series, "System Failure", Ferguson states that our new ideas evolve from our old ones. However, people don't take into account the derivative nature of ideas; instead they are regarded as property with distinct boundaries. But Ferguson tells us that "Ideas aren't so tidy, they're layered, they're interwoven, they're tangled, and when the system conflicts with the reality, the system starts to fail." He claims that the growing dominance of the market economy in which the products of our intellectual labors are bought and sold produced an unfortunate side-effect: original creations cannot compete with the price of copies. Another major point from this part is that people are often willing to borrow or take ideas from others to benefit themselves, but when other people try to copy their work they get defensive and will sometimes even take legal action. Our laws indulge this bias with ever-broadening protections and massive rewards.

Examples Edit

Steve Jobs was willing to take ideas from Xerox, but threatened to "crush" anyone who tried to take ideas from Apple

Disney removed their films from public domain, but when the time came for their copyrights to expire they lobbied for extensions

Artist Shepard Fairey has used images from the Industrial Workers of the World, Cuban poster art of the 60s, to the art nouveau drawings of Koloman Moser, and most recently, for his Obama campaign artwork from 2008, which he was sued for and owed $25,000. However, he also sued artist Baxter Orr for using his signature "Obey" artwork which the artist sells on his website.

Keywords Edit


Citations Edit

Everything is a Remix Part 4