A True Read-Write Culture?

After reading and watching Lessig and after our class on Wednesday, I have spent some time reflecting on the idea that copyright, though meant to encourage creativity, actually limits it. As a member of generation Y, I see this everyday. How many college aged students dream about creating their own documentary or working on their own music video, only to stop themselves because dealing with copyright is just too much work? There may have been a point in time where not wanting to getting permission to use copyrighted material was plain laziness. After reading the graphic novel about copyrighting, it seems that to pay for copyrighted material would probably mean giving up the equivalent of a college education – branding is awfully expensive!

That being said, I also agree with Lessig’s idea that America has gone from a read-write culture, to a read-only culture, and now is on its way back to a read-write culture. I think that younger generations especially are using technology to expand and grow creatively in a way that no one else has done before. In order to test these boundaries, they use copyrighted material… but I think it’s safe to say that as we as a society grow more comfortable with new media, we will branch out even more and start to produce new, worthwhile, never-before-been-copyrighted literature that will solidify us even further as a read-write culture.

What’s most interesting about his idea of “returning” to a read-write culture through creating new material is how vastly different the term “writing” meant before, compared to what it is now. Before, writing literally meant writing – novels, articles, journals. In our culture today, a read-write culture means producing new literature – music videos and blogs and new boards on Pinterest. The content we are creating has changed, and I believe this to be a reflection of our culture. We crave simplicity and literature that is short, sweet, and to the point. Advertisements cater to us; the Internet caters to us; and now, as we begin to create new literature in our changing culture, we are catering to us. 

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