Mash-up artists like Girl Talk and Super Mash Bros are staples of college playlists. Bestselling authors like Cassandra Clare have gotten their starts on websites like fanfiction.net. With clubs dedicated exclusively to playing mash-up music and fan fiction influencing authors, transformative works have entered mainstream consciousness. And with sites like YouTube and programs like GarageBand, it seems like everyone has the abil…ity to edit and transform. These creations have sparked debate among artists, academics, and consumers over whether originality is even possible anymore. What are the legalities, past, future, and merit of these works and what place do they hold in our society?
Where does inspiration end and plagiarism start?
Join Jonathan Lethem and Doug Lichtman for a discussion of all these questions and more on Wednesday, February 9 at 7pm in Rose Hills Theater.
Jonathan Lethem is the recently appointed Roy E. Disney Professor in Creative Writing and this upcoming semester will be his first at Pomona. While perhaps best known for his book Fortress of Solitude, Professor Lethem also wrote a piece for Harper’s Magazine entitled “The Ecstasy of Influence: a plagiarism” (available to read for free at: http://www.harpers.org/archive/2007/02/0081387). The piece is lifted almost entirely from other authors and explores the lines between original and transformation. Even as an author with first hand experience dealing with inspiration and copyright, he’s remained an avid “copy-left” advocate.
Doug Lichtman is a UCLA law professor who was hired to represent the AP in its suit against Shepard Fairey over his unpaid use of Obama for the Obama Hope poster. He’s a copyright maximalist who’s discussed copyright with the honorable Chief Judge Randall R. Rader and Fred von Lohmann. He’s the founder of the Intellectual Property Colloquium, which is, in his words, “an NPR-style talk show, but focused on intellectual property topics.” (http://www.ipcolloquium.com/)
Wednesday, February 9 · 7:00pm – 8:30pm
Rose Hill Theater
A debate featuring two prominent social commentators on American hip hop culture: Bakari Kitwana, former editor of The Source, and Thomas C. Williams, author of Losing My Cool: How a Father’s Love and 15,000 Books Beat Hip-Hop Culture. The discussion will examine the origins of the music and its cultural influence. What are the sociopolitical forces that led to its creation and transformation from an inner-city underground movem…ent to a mainstream pop phenomenon? Does hip-hop’s popularity reflect subjugation or empowerment? Are hip-hop and feminism compatible? Has its message swayed from its political roots? Moreover, where is hip-hop going now and should we still listen? Kitwana and Williams will spur reflection on the 21st century’s version of rock and roll, challenging listeners to question the culture they embrace.
Tuesday, February 15 · 8:00pm – 9:30pm
Edmunds Ballroom, Pomona College