I really enjoyed the TED talk by Kirby. I had previously seen his series “Everything is a Remix” and found myself surprised by the many influences music artist in particular drew from. In the TED talk he references patents held by Apple Computer. I find it very interesting and timely that the court case of Apple Vs Samsung over these referenced patents has recently taken place. The Jury found Samsung guilty and placed a value of one Billion dollars on the infringement. Link
This isn’t an easy issue to understand and solve. subsequent media interviews of the Jury foreman show that they didn’t fully comprehend the law or the implications of sustaining these patents.
I sit somewhere between both extremes in my opinion on copyright law and patents. I do feel that they’ve been abused by corporations and are used to stifle innovation and restrict competition. I can also understand the position of content creators that look to earn an income from their work. Software patents in particular are very interesting. I think there needs to be serious patent reform such as limiting the term of the patent to a much shorter timeframe, but I’m not sure about abolishing patents completely as some have suggested.
As for appropriation of media samples to remix or otherwise combine and create new work, I think those uses should be allowed. They won’t be confusing end consumers because the product is decidedly different, and the user benefits from the new creation where they might otherwise not be served by the copyright holder.