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2109 CE: The Golden Age of Content Creation

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In the year 2109 CE, American society has advanced along the lines of those classic founding principles: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Although there have been ups and downs in the progression toward a country in which all men are as equal as they were created, an earnest devotion has emerged to developing and protecting an active culture of innovation and creation by all stakeholders in American society. It is a positive fervor which occupies no small amount of the interest and energy of individuals and institutions. A veritable Golden Age of Content Creation is underway. A century ago, most Americans did not give much thought to the value of creating and contributing art, engineering, literature, music and other works to the cultural commons. Instead, cultural works were primarily viewed as consumer goods. Music was made to be sold, not appreciated. Innovative designs that had the potential to overhaul countless industries were, by default, locked up by copyright. Most professional photographs also had high legal barriers erected around them in the name of the protection of the rights holder, and it was almost impossible to create a quality motion picture without handing the rights away to one of a very few gigantic production and distribution companies. Most consumers never thought twice about what it meant to purchase these creations. Their own rights with the works they purchased were often of little to no concern, as the overwhelming culture of media consumption had all but eroded away the previous culture of the arts as something individuals could practice for their own sake. When the Internet began to form a commons representing the new “public square,” the old powerhouses and guardians of the accumulated intellectual capital of the past century did not know what to do. The Internet allowed links to form between people, which the rights holders could not regulate at the point of sale. If Congress passed laws permitting media conglomerate interest groups to persecute violators of copyright law, consumers simply found ways around detection or blocking of the trading of works, whether purchased as consumer media or generated for community enjoyment. The notion of a “free culture” began to take shape, and people became interested in creating works of their own for the express purpose of being built upon by others. The era of the proprietary lock-down faced its sunset – not overnight, but at a much more rapid pace than it had swallowed up a society that regularly enjoyed playing its own music, writing its own poems and sharing its innovations. Content creators began to influence the creaky old power-broking system, and by the year 2020, a generation of forward-looking leaders seized the moment to ensure that the promulgation of a free culture would not be hindered by an inflexible legal system. Inspired by the language of the Declaration of Independence, they crafted the language of the Free Culture Act with the anticipation that future generations would be able to construct a society unencumbered by legal restrictions. The power to bring new innovations to the public would not have to be slowed by Congressional hearings or licensing negotiations. In 2109, the ways in which Americans express themselves and contribute to the well-being of society have evolved beyond the imaginations of the framers of the Free Culture Act. Where once there were couch potatoes, there are now mash-up authors who constantly weave together freely available information and prior works to meet the desires and needs of the community with unprecedented fluidity. A stroll down a neighborhood thoroughfare is lined with digital murals, which use painted-on organic LEDs to draw from the selected library of images, pictures and quotes of the building owners to present a variety of pleasant slideshows, independently produced news shorts, daily-changing advertisements and provocative social and political messages. In the afternoon and evening, almost every major street corner in every town features people playing music who have never lived in a time when it was necessary to secure a license to do so. To them, playing music publicly is a natural outgrowth of the overwhelmingly common practice of playing music at home as a hobby. Literary societies ranging in size from four to forty thousand people are common for the many millions of part-time authors, many of whom have never even physically met any of the other members of their circles. They generate a body of work that is meant at least to be critiqued for self-improvement, and more often also becomes a part of an exponentially growing library of literature that can be built upon by anyone else. Engineers rely on the expertise of their advice and skill to make a living. They do not lock down their works, but instead expect others with needs and imaginations completely apart from those of a design’s creator to modify plans to fit new and unique needs. These new plans in turn spark new innovations and improvements, which ultimately raise the value of the products and constructions produced around the world. Beyond these media that the people of the past understand, the open world of creativity has produced whole new forms of expression and entertainment that scarcely could be comprehended before the Free Culture Act. Every neighborhood has a new temple alongside the traditional houses of worship; these are temples to content creation. Here, devotees to free culture gather regularly to spread ideas, critique other works, and collaborate on new creations. It could be considered the new “town hall,” but without the constraints of being under the auspices of the municipality. To the new authors of the world’s body of work, these temples are simply well-constructed edifices where they have all the executive power together. The citizens of this era respect and appreciate that they are empowered to shape many possible futures.
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Written by Preston

July 4th, 2009 at 8:30 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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3 Responses to '2109 CE: The Golden Age of Content Creation'

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  1. I think your post deserves more than a flippant comment, but there’s really a glaring hole in it that I have to poke at.

    While all of these musicians, writers, engineers, etc. are creating these products of free creation, how do they purchase food, support a family, etc.? In short, since you’re removing entirely the upwards of 50% of American career options collectively classified as “knowledge workers,” what sort of options do you expect to replace them?

    Arcadiy

    25 Jul 09 at 13:05

  2. [...] BrainCanvas’ one-year anniversary! It was a year ago on July 4 when BrainCanvas posited its first “What If?” and the world has never been the same [...]

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