Meta Data

Merrill Perlman, Columbia Journalism Review, Feb 08, 2010
Commentary by Stephen Downes

The way music works, you use one song as a frame from which to create a new song. You need to do this - derive from existing archetypes - because otherwise you just end up reinventing songs that have already been written, and get sued, like George Harrison did, even if you did no wrong (thanks to musician Don Belliveau for explaining all this to me). So anyhow, Lady Gaga and Elton John performed a duet at the Grammys, and as this item explains, they "went meta" - "'How wonderful life is with Gaga in the world,' John sang." But it's not just that the lyrics were self-referential. Gaga's Speechless uses Elton John's Your Song as its frame, something that was evident by the way they merged, so when Gaga sings "this is your song, I hope you don't mind" she's acknowledging the song's origins. Which is why it's nice that Elton sings back, "You can tell everyone this is your song." That's how creativity and innovation works, and that's what our intellectual; property system is in the process of wrecking, and be fairly warned, once you break that chain of innovation, you can't get it back; you have to start from scratch again. Which is why the dark ages were so, um, dark.
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