Noah J Nelson on Thursday, Feb. 16th
It’s been almost eight months since the last time Kirby Ferguson released an episode of his web series Everything is a Remix, which traces the way creators — both contemporary and historical — have borrowed ideas in order to create original works. Now, he’s back with the finale; and it’s a doozy.
In the conclusion, Kirby explains the origins of intellectual property laws in evolutionary terms, laying bare the noble foundations of the legal system that has given birth to patent trolls. It’s a smart piece of persuasive filmmaking that makes its case in clear and entertaining terms.
Our system of law doesn’t acknowledge the derivative nature of creativity. Instead, ideas are regarded as property, as unique and original lots with distinct boundaries. But ideas aren’t so tidy. They’re layered, they’re interwoven, they’re tangled. And when the system conflicts with the reality… the system starts to fail. — Kirby Ferguson
Now that Kirby has wrapped up Everything is a Remix, he’s turning his attention to something even bigger: our political process. He’s put up a proposal on Kickstarter for a series called This is Not a Conspiracy Theory, which promises to “explain the major ideas, events and human quirks that have shaped where we are right now politically.”
Even I, a long time fan of Kirby’s work, balked at that promise. That is, until I watched this final episode of Remix. If Kirby can link the existence of patent trolls all the way back to the scientific concept of LUCA (Last Universal Common Ancestor), he’s got a fair shot at pulling an ambitious political documentary off.