Jesse Jarnow

DRMDMA

The idea of playing with copyright — through mash-ups (musical, visual, or otherwise), pirating, mixes — occasionally seems the modern equivalent of psychedelics. Like LSD, which had been in circulation for two decades previous to the 1960s, the notion of reappropriation took some time to achieve critical cultural mass (and has been present, in some form, for all human history). There are people who exploit it on a strictly recreational level (such as downloading music), and those who have used it as a great springboard of creativity (such as turning that music into something new and redistributing it). Committing one of the latter acts, especially, one automatically enters into the dialogue, rearranging the symbols around himself. It is an instant ticket to the group mind. Mostly, playing with copyright makes one see the world differently, as something more malleable than it was moments earlier. Though maybe not as dangerous an idea as acid, it still makes for a dandy of a bogeyman.