Today, I watched a very interesting documentary about downloading music/movies online, copyright and remixing. Although I had some mixed feelings at the beginning of the documentary, I definitely had a clear opinion in the end. In my opinion, I have always thought that music downloading was bad and that if you would get caught, it was the artist that would be suing you, but it is not. Big companies will be the ones taking action if they realize someone is trying to steal their song or character, by copying or modifying it. For example, if I choose a song and decide to change the pitch in it and mash it up with another sample that I slowed down and a bass drum, so basically creating something totally new that has never been done before, I am doing so illegally. That is ridiculous. As they point out in the documentary, humans have always looked back on the past and used items from the past, to upgrade or modify, in a way to create something new. It has always been that way, that is how we evolve, how our minds get more creative. But those big companies are trying to take all the credit for it and limit our creativity, our ways of expression. In addition to that, we they sue you, the money they get goes to the big company, not the artist, and let me tell you, it is a lot of money!
From a preservice teacher perspective, I have found certain links with what I am currently learning in my education classes. We aim for social justice and we try to achieve that through collaboration and sharing of ideas with colleagues or other teachers around the globe. By sharing, we can therefore think outside of the box and add to the original idea someone might of given us. How is this any different from creating new forms of art? Or science? We have the freedom to speech and expression and these big companies and government will try to take it from us. For these reasons, I do not look at music downloading the same way anymore. If I really love the artist and have been following them for a long time, yes I will actually buy their album, but if it’s only one song, I am sure the artist would not be bothered by the fact I downloaded their song and then decided to modify it to create something new and funky! This might sound a little confusing, but in my opinion, it really depends on the situation. I believe that the majority of artist out there would be proud to hear they have been part of your new invention or that they might have been a source of inspiration to you.
What will I chose to tell my students about the matter? I will definitely show them this video, if it is age appropriate, and let them make a decision for themselves. If any of them have questions about the film, I will gladly help them out as much as I can by doing research on the subject. This movie would also be a great start for a group discussion about social justice, media and technology. What are your thoughts on music downloading, remixing and copyright? Do you download a lot of music and do you feel bad about it? Why is that?