Copyright, culture, and creativity

I am child of the mid-eighties - born in the last year of being a Digital Native but somehow still a Millenial - so the punk, lo-fi indie, grunge and all other "underground" movements of the 90s and earlier largely passed me by the first time around. These movements were celebrated for going against the mainstream, led by visionaries who would, the media proclaimed, eventually give us the tools for free thought and bring an end to bland pop culture.

But a strange thing happened. They were absorbed by the mainstream media and what they had achieved - an aesthetic, a music genre, a fashion - was sold back to us at a premium as a way for us to buy into the culture. Take, for example, urban culture. In her 1999 book No Logo Naomi Klein highlights how brands would "search out pockets of cutting-edge lifestyle, capture them on videotape and return to clients like Reebok, Absolut Vodka and Levi'".

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