It’s become a ridiculous thing that people now think they can own whatever idea comes to their head and everything that may possibly be similar to it. In Lawrence Lessig’s book, The Future of Ideas, he points out that “I would say to an 18-year-old artist, you’re totally free to do whatever you want. But–and then I would give him a long list of all the things that he couldn’t include in his movie because they would not be cleared, legally cleared. That he would have to pay for them. [So freedom? Here’s the freedom]: You’re totally free to make a movie in an empty room, with your two friends.” Basically the point he’s making is that you’re originality can only be based solely on what comes out of your head with practically no outside sources. He proclaims this is in a sarcastic manner because no one can form thoughts and ideas without even the slight influence of another person’s impact to start from.
An example where this ridiculous idea is portrayed is the case of Vanilla Ice vs. David Bowie/Freddie Mercury. The one hit wonder Vanilla Ice was sued for having a similar baseline in his song “Ice Ice Baby” and not crediting David Bowie and Queen from their song “Under Pressure” for it. Vanilla Ice, clearly not the most intelligent man to enter the world of hip hop, states in response to the lawsuit that ,”We sampled it from them but it’s not the same bassline. It goes ‘ding ding ding di di ding ding… ding ding ding di di ding ding.’ That’s the way theirs goes. Ours goes ‘ding ding ding di di ding ding… DING… ding ding ding di di ding ding.’ That little bitty change — it’s not the same.” The fact that people can now claim certain beats of music seems to be hilarious in my eyes. What happened to freedom of speech? I understand there has to be somewhat of a limit on copyright infringement so that people can correctly be recognized for the work they do but even Milton states in the Areopagitca that, “. . . When a man writes to the world, he summons up all his reason and deliberation to assist him; he searches, meditats, is industrious, and likely consults and conferrs withhis judicious friends; after all which done he takeshimself to be inform’d in what he writes, as well as any that writ before him;”
Milton clearly states that other people and influences are importance when it comes to original ideas and such. Immanuel Kant also mentions in his piece “What is Enlightenment” that “It is more nearly possible, however, for the public to enlighten itself,” which coincides with the point that we need influences in our lives to procreate ideas in ourselves.