Worldview: On derivative creativity

Good ideas have the habit of spawning other good ideas. In fact, modern society owes most of its existence to the process of one person improving on or creating from something someone else has done.

Yet, there is a trend in modern society to try to counteract that process for the sake of protecting “rights,” which itself is a thinly guised attempt to protect profit. We could have a long, and likely fruitless, debate about profit, but I’d rather talk about a different idea: encouraging derivative creativity as a way of keeping ideas fresh.

Why is the modern, often corporate, instinct to crush rather than absorb? In all sorts of endeavors, people who are not part of the original creative process create things that make the original creation better. Yet, far too often, cease and desist letters and lawsuits follow.

What if, instead, we take a different approach that is far more in keeping with the history of ideas? Instead of lawsuits, why not try engaging these derivative creators and bring them into the scope of the creation?

In doing so, we have the opportunity to do something the history of derivative ideas often lacked: formally promote the advancement of those ideas. It stands to reason we would all be better off for it given how we have already benefited so far.

DLH

[Instigation: Star Trek fan film creators sued by CBS, Paramount for copyright infringement]

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