The film industry’s latest advertisement in their campaign to prolong their anachronistic privilege of copyright (at the expense of suspending the public’s natural right to cultural liberty) is a bit of an own goal.
The amusing and yet depressing irony about the video clip is that its producer’s cultural liberty to incorporate the original soundtrack from Jaws has been suspended by copyright – and it comes across as if they didn’t fancy the prospect or expense of obtaining clearance – so they substituted something vaguely reminiscent.
This evasion does no credit to John Williams (the composer of the original music to Jaws), and implies that even the producers of the advert have no compunction in hypocritically avoiding paying the royalties they’d presumably otherwise argue he’s due. Isn’t that ‘copyright theft’?
They thus reveal the perverted, illiberal world they’d like us all to live in at the same time as ‘thanking’ people for similarly abstaining from taking natural liberties with the movies they buy. Those poor people the MPAA would thank for not yet having deprogrammed themselves from the brainwashing that it’s wrong to share copyrighted music and movies, and wrong to use copyrighted theme music in your own videos that you upload to YouTube.
On the other hand, when it comes to Knock-off-Nigels, most of us loathe them with good reason, those dishonest types who share inferior quality VHS transfers or videocam recordings and label them as full quality DVD rips when they should have truthfully described them. No-one will mourn Nigel’s passing (he was probably an MPAA employee).
So, come on everyone, let’s be honest. There is no shame in sharing and building upon published culture. Copyright is an unethical constraint on society’s cultural liberty and those societies who choose to remain bound by it choose cultural stagnation and obscurity.
Let’s see this video remixed with the appropriate musical segments from the original Jaws movie and uploaded to YouTube; let’s make John Williams proud that his music isn’t consigned to copyright oblivion to suffer the indignity of crude substitution. Let’s show the film industry what cultural freedom is all about, and how much more culturally vibrant and diverse the world is when artists are free to share and build upon each other’s work.
Don’t forget: that’s free as in free speech, not ‘free’ as in ‘free beer’.