What are we telling the next generation?

As I sit here on this Saturday afternoon in Bird Library, listening to my iPhone I cant help but think about how thankful I am for the creators of Pandora. “Musical genius” is how I describe Will Glaser, Jon Kraft, and Tim Westergren. I assume that most people today know or have at least heard of Pandora, the Internet Radio – but i’ve been told to never assume anything. With Pandora, you have the opportunity as a member to select an Artist song, or genre of music you enjoy listening to and the station will generate a playlist most likely to your enjoyment.

Although you are not determining which songs will be playing you have a kind of control, a form of authority where you can add more preferences or arenas of music that you enjoy and Pandora will continue to implement them into your playlist. I thought it most appropriate to listen to a Girl Talk playlist while doing homework, and to my surprise I came across a ton of artists and songs I had heard on several occasions – but many I would not have pinned as “remix” friendly. Girl Talk, who stands as one of the most provocative remixers out there actually only came up every 6-7 songs. This allowed me to embrace a whole new group of artists. I started to think about how many artists there must be out there in the world who are so proud of Girl Talk and the stance he has taken on Remix culture. As young children we are told, even highly encouraged to chase our dreams, become who we want to be, and to never allow something or someone prohibit us from obtaining what we want in life.

Now my question reverts back to Lessig’s story. As a generation who’s parents instilled in us to never give up or give in, how can we tell our kids to do almost the opposite. Lessig brings up the idea of copyright laws in Chapter Nine. He states on page 266, “Copyright laws fails miserably to live up to this standard.” So what is this standard he talking about? From my perspective, Lessig is actually talking about the standard of what is expected from each generation, that value of becoming better- more advanced – more efficient than those who lived before us. Later on he explains, “We thus have a system of technology that invites our kids to be creative. Yet a system of law prevents them from creating legally. The regulation of this creativity thus fails every important standard of efficient and justice. And congress should immediately address how it could be changed to make it work better.”

The system of technology Lessig mentions has what I consider, a limitless opportunity for the imaginations and creativity of the younger generation to produce something spectacular. My question is, are we stifling the minds of those younger then us who are told from day one that the majority of their actions are illegal (because of copyright laws)? Should they be studying: this 72 page copyright workbook. OR is it nearly a reversal effect…because of the severity of copyright laws, will children and teens feel coerced into finding the next best thing BECAUSE it may be “illegal”.

This TED talk discusses the generational transformations:

Larry Lessig on laws that choke creativity

I also found this website that relates to my idea of suppressing young minds and the importance of Remix culture: TNGG:The Next Great Generation


2 thoughts on “What are we telling the next generation?

  1. Great post, Hillary. Thanks for those helpful links, especially the 72-page workbook! (I’m also curious about what other artists your were led to from Girl Talk and how you might consider them remix worthy.) Luis posted a similar question about the effect of these laws have on the youth; I hope we’ll get to explore them today.

  2. I believe that the younger generation grows up with the notion that all laws must be unjust and loosely followed if they are being labeled as “pirates.” As Lessig says, “they see these senseless laws as indicative of the legal system generally, they may be less likely to obey these laws generally” (283). I found this section of the book interesting, since we are the generation Lessig is talking about. But, what do we have to compare our lives to? We only know and experience our lives and don’t know what it was like for our parents (or Lessig) to grow up in the dark ages of digital media.

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