One of our fabulous readers, Emily Kennedy (who also blogs at A Radiant Mephit) just tipped me off to Johanna Blakely’s TED talk called, “Lessons from Fashion’s Free Culture.” Like all TED talks, Blakely’s talk is informative, accessible, lively, and quick. After cataloging the “magical side effects” of the “copying culture” of fashion (including the democratization of fashion and the acceleration in creative innovation), Blakely concludes with a question about the relationship between creativity and ownership:
The conceptual issues are truly profound when you talk about creativity and ownership. We don’t want to leave this just to lawyers to figure out. [Y]ou want an interdisciplinary team of people hashing this out, trying to figure out: “What is the kind of ownership model in a digital world that’s going to lead to the most innovation?”
The answer for Blakely, of course, is fashion. But how digital technologies increase creative innovation is a different question, I think, than asking how digital technologies increase freedom (creative or political). In other words, Blakely’s “free culture” is only free in limited ways and in fact, can produce unfreedoms in the process.
I began drafting another post having quite a lot to do with that question so it’s absolute serendipity that Emily clued me into this TED talk! While I finish writing that, check out the video.