This morning I came across this great TED talk thanks to Jeff McBride from Johanna Blakley entitled “Less From Fashion’s Free Culture." Johanna talks about what all creative industries can learn from this copy free culture. She talks about all the things that you can not copyright; recipes, jokes, smells, rules, fireworks, automobile designs, furniture, ect. And then backs these up with the gross sales of the goods, you see that the "Low Copyright Industries" sales greatly out number those of "Hight Copyright Industries."
As a creative person I know that creating can be some of the hardest work you can do. So it may seem that it’s easier to just copy something that has already been made by someone else. But really if all you are ever doing is copying what has already been created then you are always playing catchup. Re-creating every time something new happens can take just as much work. How can you stop your work from being copied without spending tons of time and money so that you can be doing what they love to do; creating… designing… innovating?
One way people try and combat their work from being copied is to make it harder to copy; in the technique or even the materials. If it’s too difficult for someone else to replicate then that person is going to skip it and move onto something that is easier.
With such a free culture it leads to some great innovation. I think you see that in the design world as well, concepts get remixed, translated, flipped and copied all the time to make new interesting things. Of course there’s a difference between being influenced by an idea and completely ripping it off. Should we all be stealing peoples work all the time and putting our name on it? Probably not. But spending so much time on trying to stop it from happening doesn’t necessarily move us froward either. We need to try and figure out the best ownership model for the digital age that will lead to the most innovation and Johanna Blakley suggestion is that fashion might be the best place to start looking.