After watching Kirby Ferguson’s Embrace the remix video, I started to question myself, do designers constantly innovate ? Or is it an outcome of the past influences or a combination of the influences seen in real life. Ferguson says, “this idea that everything is a remix might sound like common sense until you’re the one getting remixed.”
Jonathan Lethem’s The Ecstasy of Influence defines plagiarism and various viewpoints associated with it. Lethem brings up “contamination anxiety” and I agree with it in full measure. My first lesson in plagiarism was a lesson in shame.
Ferguson also explains loss aversion that refers to people’s tendency to prefer avoiding losses to acquiring equivalent gains. On the other hand according to Letham’s viewpoints, innovation and plagiarism seem to have various yardsticks for everyone.
Blues and jazz musicians have long been enabled by a kind of “open source” culture, in which pre-existing melodic fragments and larger musical frameworks are freely reworked. Also Animation is built on plagiarism!” declares the show’s hot-tempered cartoon-producer-within-a-cartoon, Roger Meyers Jr. He also expresses his discomfort and agony on Lethem’s views by saying “You take away our right to steal ideas, where are they going to come from?
Creativity is said to be the use of the imagination or original ideas, especially in the production of an artistic work. But if everything around us is a remix, we cannot call any idea to be original. When we summon someone to think out of the box , what does it really mean? It means making an effort to push your thinking up to and beyond its limit. Forming a new perspective might not be possible without someone else’s influence. Every thought comes into picture from a previous experience but we are all programmed to inspect, behave and create based on our own previous experiences or observations. Influence can certainly lead to a new dimension; however reaching a new dimension might not be possible without influence of a third party.
Plagiarism is the “wrongful appropriation” and “stealing and publication” of another author’s “language, thoughts, ideas, or expressions” and the representation of them as one’s own original work.
The idea that culture can be intellectual has a lot of ambiguity as the definitions and rules remain unclear. It needs to be well defined and established to call it as an intellectual property. I have come to the conclusion that Lethem’s views are too cynical- there is no point in discarding virtually every creation as an attempt of plagiarism, if every creation origins from an influence.