Andy Baio on sample culture and on copyright as "The New Prohibition"

In the above video, Andy Baio discusses his experiences with copyright, music, and remix culture and how recent events have made him concerned about the future of every single creative person on the internet that dares to borrow the smallest snippet of anything at all without permission, in an era of mass automated lawsuits where copyright holders have increasingly “turned copyright into a weapon”.

He asserts that fair use does not exist—at least not outside of a courtroom—because it is not a law and only a courtroom test*, and when settlement letters are so convenient and reliable as a source of income, anyone can be the target of a lawsuit at any time. At the same time, he worries about how far the recent trend to “criminalize creativity” can possibly go as fewer and fewer people can even understand why building on other works should even be unlawful in the first place:

Every time I’d look at this and be like, “Should these be illegal?”
[…] “Does it feel right that these are illegal?”

This is a great video and if you’re at all interested in copyright or even fan art in general, you should watch it.

*This is actually incorrect. It doesn’t negate his overall point though.