Monday, November 7, 2011

Life's a Remix

Art journal page
Where do you draw your inspiration from? I've been thinking a great deal lately (and - well - for a good part of my career) about sources of inspiration, creativity, and copyright.  As I've taken classes from a number of creative people - who make a living from their creativity and production of their creative work - people like Alisa Burke, Julie Balzer, Amy Tan, and others - I hope that I've gained a deeper appreciation for respecting their work.

That's why the conversation around Pinterest that has been going on lately in creative circles has caught my attention.  If you've not used Pinterest before, it is a social bookmarking tool.  Not sure what that is?  Well, it's a way to grab different bookmarks that you like and share them with your circles of friends, colleagues, etc.  What makes Pinterest different from other social bookmarking tools is that it boils the references of the page down to a single image, so what you see on Pinterest is something like what you see below - a page of Julie Balzer's that I pinned recently.  You put "pins" together on "boards" - like this one of art journal page ideas I like.

P

I offer this up with the art journal page shot above (and the one below) because, I know that this was an idea I saw from someone else in some blog I read. I can't remember who - and I didn't pin it. The idea of using words and lines - in a single pen stroke (that's really just one big long line all around the page with very few breaks) came from someone else. The funny thing about it, I can't remember where because I didn't actually pin it - it just stuck in my head as an idea of something I wanted to try. Sadly, though, I can't give credit to the person who inspired it because I can't find the reference.

Art journal page
 As a faculty member who not only reads a lot of student work, but one who also works with faculty members who produce classes where they don't often think about crediting the intellectual property of some of their peers when building assignments and other activities, copyright is a natural part of my livelihood - so it's something I think about regularly.  If I see a beautiful photo of the reflection of fall color in a lake (taken by my friend Diana) and then go out and also capture an image of fall color reflected in water, is that stealing? Is it wrong? Of course not.  And did Diana "steal" from me because I actually took mine first - of course not.  If either Diana or I tried to pass the other one's image off as our own or - worse - tried to profit from the sale of the other's image, then that is wrong.

Why does this matter enough to me, now, to blog about it?  Because I'm considering changing up what I cover on the blog next year and going deeper into some of the other things I do like tutorials I've written and will write, videos I've created and will create, and documents I've produced and will produced - and I'm thinking about releasing them free of traditional copyright - with a Creative Commons attribution rather than a traditional copyright notice.  I do believe that Everything is a Remix (great video below from these fine folks) and I'm trying to decide just how much freedom I want to give to the public with my own intellectual property.  Thoughts on copyright, sharing, and intellectual property in the age of social bookmarking, facebook, twitter, and all things shareable?  I'd love to know your thoughts.

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