Creative Oppression?

This week brought up the discussion of copyright laws. I read read a very informative article that was the more logistical side of how copyright works, as well as watching two videos. This week I want to discuss one of the videos however. It was titled “Copyright Criminals” and goes into the different perspectives behind copyrighting in the music industry.

In this day and age the creative process behind modern music is vastly different than that of the past. This change, one could argue started with rap and the popularity of the turntables. If we are to look at some of the most popular rap records they contain tons of compilations that include music from other artists. This brings into play the copyright laws behind music and the battle to give artists the credit and more importantly money they deserve. One of the people interviewed was strongly against the musical process of sampling and thought of it as lazy and wrong. Their are many who share this view, mainly the heads of major music industries and some artists. Fortunately for this demographic the copyright laws currently favor this point of view. They aim at protecting even the smallest portion of audio.

Let’s look on the other side though. Can we say that any sound is 100% original to one specific artist? If we even go back to before the popularity of sampling and mash-ups and look at different rock or country music songs the arrangement of chords are often repeated in several different songs. Does this count as stealing? and who gets the credit for the original sound? In my opinion the progression of any kind of art form or culture in general is the melding of ideas to create new ones. Culture is an evolution and must continue to evolve to fit the times. Allowing this collage of cultural relevance enables old gems to not fall to the wayside and allows them to be incorporated into present day. One of my favorite examples of this is the unexpected mix of the song “It’s a hard knock life” from the musical Annie and using a sample of it in Jay-Z’s song “A hard knock life.” It blends two different worlds together in an unexpected way. The message remains the same though. To get back to the main point. In the video they talk about how the copyright laws aren’t in touch with the present day and the creative process of music. Music has become a musical collage and that should be celebrated. It displays “golden oldies” in an updated fashion, why is that a negative thing? The issue comes in when musicians feel that they haven’t gotten proper recognition but as two DJ’s explain, often times the sounds are so distinct and famous that it is not as if musicians are in danger of being unrecognized for their efforts. If we are going to continue to culturally progress laws of the past need to be examined, especially those involving creativity.

Wiki article: Josephine Baker

For this weeks assignment we were told to use our research topics in conjunction with wikipedia. I looked at the wiki page on Josephine Baker in order to look at it through the lens of sources, discussion as well as the history of the page.

Sources: this is the information that falls under further reading, references and external links. There were a lot of links under the sources category and as I looked through them I found what I feel were credible sources. Due to the fact that my research topic is a famous person there are several books written (e.g A Biography of Josephine BakerJosephine Baker in Art And Life: The Icon And the Image). Along with such books were magazine articles as well as pop culture references to her in present day. I felt these to be good sources due to the historical nature of them.

Discussion: The discussion or “talk page” has different people’s thought about the wiki page article. Under the discussion headings that were most common were ones discussing her nationality, claims of her bisexuality, her children and her attire. The most popular discussion that I noticed were the ones about her nationality. Although Baker was born in America she lived in France most of her life, was granted French citizenship and worked for the French resistance. Many people disagree on wether or not she should be considered French purely off of her cultural and political contributions to the country. Some also criticize her abandonment of American identity.

History: Under the history I found that most of the articles progression has been the addition of links external links and sources to go with the information as well as the general addition of information. There were also some spelling and grammar corrections.


The link for the wikipedia page:

Credibility of Photography

In the articles assigned as well as in class discussion we have talked about the credibility of technological interference. In particular let’s focus on photography and photoshop. The article gives several examples of how the way we look at a photograph, the arrangement and the editing affects the message that it sends. It is interesting to look at the human reaction to what we see because it is so instinctual. We see a photograph and if it looks realistic enough upon first sight we take it at face value. This article calls into question these sorts of reactions. It begins with an example of looking at a photograph that depicts warfare with cannon balls in the middle of the road and results in an argument of wether or not it was an artistic rearrangement or not. Was the photograph now a fake due to the false interpretations from the viewer. Does that become the responsibility of the photographer or editor of the photograph the way in which it is interpreted? Or let’s look at this discussion in terms of the reliability behind the research we do with the aid of the internet. The internet opens us up to not only text to decipher but visual representations as well. The leaking of photographs that have been tampered with comes into play. In my opinion visual information is more dangerous, let’s say, since I feel it is in many people’s natures to have the “I saw it with my own eyes mentality.” There is an urge for concrete information we can see with our own eyes. Textual ideas and information leave room for discussion and although they say “a picture is worth a thousand words” what those words are can be different for everyone.

Josephine Baker

In class we discussed what makes a good research question and went over the different aspects of each one. After reviewing my own questions I chose a question different from the three before.

To what extent did Josephine Baker open up opportunities for women in the 1920’s?

I began researching my topic on the website Proquest. I started by simply typing in her name into the search engine and seeing what I could find. The articles that came up were all seemingly relevant to my research topic and question. With the tags attached to the articles I was able to find relevant newspaper clippings that had been scanned. The articles I encountered were easy to read in their scanned form. Some examples include an article that talked about how the Mayor named a city square for her. This type of resource is extremely helpful due to the time period in which it was written. It gives a different perspective than that of a historical analysis in a book or other source.

Because Josephine was a famous celebrity during the 1920’s it was not difficult to find photographs of her. I chose to include this photograph.

This is a portrait similar to other photographs of her that I have found.

man versus the machine

“Taking an analog recording of a live concert,” writes one analogista, reducing it to 0’s and 1s is not unlike a root canal: by extracting the nerves, the tooth is killed in order to save it.” 

I thought it appropriate to begin my blog post with the quote above, because it adequately describes the sentiments I felt during this weeks readings. This week was about the pros and cons as well as the process of digitalizing historical records. I got a more technical “how to” feel from most of the reading. Not being entirely technologically savvy a lot of this, although interesting, was foreign to me. The main ideas, however, were not lost on me. To return to my previous point of the quote above. In regards to the cons from this new found digitalization process I felt this was a perfect summation. It seems that in the transfer of historical artifacts to a digital format much is lost. I whole heartedly see the other side of the spectrum, the benefits of these technological advances. The idea that historical information and relics are open to the public and are available despite the deterioration of time. This contribution to history should be taken advantage of, however, is our society getting too swept up in the reliance in technology. The article not only mentions these benefits but the idea of how things are lost in the use of machines to process historical information. How much is being lost versus how much is being gained by technology? There is an argument to be made for a certain laziness occurring in our society. Are we so quick to discredit the value of a human being to a machine. In the digitization process some feel so strongly in the value in the human that they do the digital recording process themselves. There is something to be said for this. Even with human digitizing there is an original essence being lost. I feel that people give technology too much credit of what it is capable of. Not even the great advancements of today can capture the physical essence of an object or sound in its original form.

In class we discussed the way humans have responded to the overwhelming presence of technology but attempting to manipulate it or gain and understanding to feel some sense of control. In the latter part of the article they talk about how to decide wether or not to carry out the digitizing process yourself. The article quotes Janet Gertz of Columbia on the topic saying “The primary argument for digitizing in-house, is that it gives the institution close control over all procedures, handling of materials, and quality of products.” This quote resonated with me because it connected so closely with the discussion in class. The human reaction to this revolution of technology that has occurred and continues to progress. We will handle it through the understanding of its inter-workings in an attempt to feel a sense of power. Is the technological era the supreme era? or is leading to a lack of artistry, creativity and the correspondence with reality? this is yet to be seen.

Short Biography

Hello my name is Sofie Tapia. I was born and raised in Lexington Kentucky, the horse capitol of the world. I am half African, my father is from Gabon in western africa. My mother raised me along with my oldest brother. For high school I left Kentucky to go to boarding school in Cleveland, Ohio. My junior year, however, I left the country to study in Lille in northern France. I still cannot speak french sadly enough. Traveling is one of my passions that I hope to continue throughout my life and hopefully with my job. My career ambition is to be a reporter for a major news company and even aspire to have my own show one day.

Response to “Getting Started” at “Digital History”

When reading the section titled “Getting Started” on the Digital History website there were several interesting points mentioned throughout. For me personally the information under the subsections of Serving Your Website and Funding proved most informative. These two sections talk about slightly different aspects of beginning websites, however are closely related. Under Serving Your Website  it provides three options for hosting a website based on the size and function said website. The part I found interesting was in the third option, which mentions a commercial web host. When larger websites want to have extravagant amount of storage they pay a monthly cost fee to an ISP. The part that surprised me was that depending on the traffic of the website they can end up paying hundreds of dollars for extra bandwith. One would think that web traffic would help in decreasing the costs that went to the web host. Although this is not the most expensive option it was the least logical and surprising. This brings me to my second ‘discovery’, if you will, under the section of Funding. As you can deduce from the title this explains various ways in which a host can get funding for their site. To begin to sum up the point of interest in these two sections is, money. For many people, myself included, when thinking about the digital age a common idea is the one of larger access to a larger array of information. Free information. A ‘problem’ has become the creation of sites in which people can get free music downloads as well as television shows and movies. In short the money aspect of websites is one that the mass of people don’t tend to think about. It is true that for all the free information given out many websites make back this money and more. The author does not really touch on this aspect, however, after reading about initial start-up costs one can say the question of making money follows after.