Mashups

I read Joe Nocera’s column last weekend about J. K. Rowling’s efforts to control everything related to her Harry Potter novels. I understand that she created the characters and the story. And I understand her desire to control everything that is done with that intellectual property. But I wonder if she was inspired by anything she read in the creation of the Harry Potter series. Were any of her characters based on people she knows or things she read? Did she ever read anything about witchcraft or wizardry that got her mind working on what became Harry Potter?

Keith Richards once said that rock and roll was simply white musicians copying black musicians. I believe that almost everything we do in life is inspired by what someone else did before us. And so allowing people to tightly control their artistic works is going to lead to less creativity not more. There have to be limits on how tightly we allow creators to control their intellectual property.

I was at a meeting yesterday and the person we were meeting with started off the meeting showing us this video which has been on YouTube for over a year now.

So this morning I went to find the video so I could show it to my family. And I noticed that the voice seemed to be Will Ferrel’s. So I did some more YouTubing and came up with this.

As funny as the Will Ferrel piece is, I think you’ll all agree with me that the kid’s mashup is way funnier. That kid is part of a generation that grew up in world where most content is digital and mashable. His generation will do amazing things with mashups. I hope our legal environment is structured  appropriately.