Sunday, 24 February 2013

Copygift? Yes Please!

Copyright has ingrained itself into many aspects of our lives and without it there would exist a much more free society, however a much more chaotic one as well - to say the least! Copyright is that thing that says, “this work is owned by someone or something, you cannot use this work and call it your own or change it to suit your needs better (without permission of course)” - what a drag!

Mackenzie Wark in his article "Copyright, Copyleft, Copygift" discusses the concept of “copygift” and I for one agree with his opinion. What is copygift you ask? It is an aspect of the social movement, it is the process of asking someone for the right to use their work, and not just to use it, but also to change, build off of it, and build into it as one pleases. The simple act of asking and receiving permission to use a work is a social relation and in Wark’s opinion this is the meat and gravy of the social movement.

I’m not saying I believe in plagiarism and neither is Wark. However the key here is the social relations that can be built through asking to use one’s work. So yes, copyright is necessary, but the process of using something that you did not originally produce should be much easier and more accessible. In my opinion nothing is ever really original, everything builds off of something else and that is how the world goes around! Through building off of other’s thoughts and ideas our world can grow and thrive.

Innovation and creativity are not always based off of original ideas but rather an extension of a prior idea. The action of asking for the right to use an idea or work and receiving the permission to do with it as one pleases is a copygift.

This brings me to question, what is an author? Can someone only be classified as an author if they created something completely original? NO! If that were the case half of the authors out there today would be phonies! An author in my opinion is the creator of something new, but it can be based off of other preexisting ideas.  Michel Foucault demonstrates the relationship between text and author in "What is an Author" and questions what would happen if authors were not linked to their text. In my opinion innovation could prosper if this happened because we would not be as restricted to plagiarism and copyright. However I then struggle with the notion that an author should be credited from something they create.

Greg Bulmash in "Should Copyright be Abolished" also discusses issues surrounding copyright and authorship. He points out that we should not dismiss copyright completely, however it does need some reworking. I agree, I mean if I created a work I would want my name attached to it for the recognition and I would want to be asked if my piece could be used and changed, wouldn’t you?

Copyright does not have to be a bad thing; rather it should be modified so that works are more accessible to become “copygifts” and yet still remain in connection to the original author.

What do you think?

Sayonara from the author of this blog and another participating citizen of media,



  1. I like this! Therefore any of my blog-articles are under copygift rights :-)

  2. Great! copygifts are not just about getting something for free, they are about creating, building, and expanding social relationships through citizen media. Not only do copygifts allow people to share thoughts and ideas but they allow innovation to prosper!