Read the credits on The Verves 1997 smash hit Bitter Sweet Symphony and you will not find Richard Archcroft’s name, instead the credits read Jagger and Richards. The Verve ‘borrowed’ a small string piece from an instrumental version of The Stones “The Last Time”. The millions of dollars that that song made was split 50:50. 50% for Mick and 50% for Keith. The irony here is that there is no doubt The Stone’s would have ripped that intro from some poorly represented soul band from the 40’s or 50’s. This point is highlighted in Everything is a remix created by Kirby Ferguson a great clip showing the relationship between the evolution of life on our planet and the evolution of the idea.
Is it true there are no truly new original ideas and we simply build on previous experiences?
In his outstanding book “The Selfish Gene” evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins coined the term ‘meme’ in order to describe a cultural version of a gene. Without the mixing of genes over millions of years we would not have the complexity of life we now see on earth, Ferguson makes the argument that as ideas are no longer free, due to copyright laws and intellectual property rights we inhibit the potential growth and mutilation of memes which could slow cultural development and human progress. An interesting thought at a time where so many people world wide choose to ignore the pervious strong hold massive cooperation’s had over intellectual property.
Having read Copyright questions and answers about iTunes, Podcasts, and Fair Use it is clear the issues around the use of clips, podcast etc within the classroom and schools is incredibly complex and I would say in most cases teachers and admin choose to leave their heads well in the sand on the issue rather than face it head on. As an educator in Asia these complex issues are made even more difficult to deal with when our students are constantly bombarded with images and opportunities to breach copyright laws. This is highlighted in Laura Faulk’s blog Teaching Copyright Laws in Asia.
Our obligation as teachers is to model appropriate behavior on this issue and give credit where credit is due.
For the record Ashcroft knew he would not see a cent for his masterpiece before he released it, however rather than redoing the intro and putting out a substandard recording he chose to go ahead with the Stone’s sample and later said it was the best song The Rolling Stones had released in 20 years.