Remixing is Okay...With a Great Dance Beat

A few weeks back, Lawrence Lessig was on The Colbert Report to talk about his new book, Remix. I still need to read the book, so I’m not really going to be addressing anything in that, but suffice to say that I agree with Lessig’s overall point, that the act of remixing is a legitimate creative act which needs to be encouraged, and not criminalized.

The interview, above, was pretty much exactly why I have grown to hate Colbert’s style since he left the Daily Show. He’s not a very good Interviewer, he chooses to stick to his line, ridiculous as he clearly knows it is, and get combative with the guest. While I understand that Colbert is simply trying to parody political pundits (particularly “Papa Bear” Bill O’Reilly), I just don’t generally find it that funny. Though lately it seems that Colbert has been toning things down and creating a better show.

In short, in my opinion, Lessig wasn’t really allowed to talk about much of anything, or make any sort of point, and Colbert just came across as a huge asshole. The interview wasn’t that good, and Colbert (jokingly) refused to let anyone remix the interview. Lessig responded by releasing the interview under a CC-BY license, and the remixes flowed.

Then, this week, Colbert made the masterstroke.

The video Colbert made here is by far one of the funniest things Colbert has ever done. I just want to take this opportunity to thank Colbert for providing such a visible venue for the issue of remixing and copyright reform, and encouraging people to take part in this new form of creation and expression. While I still don’t find the character Colbert plays to be very funny, he’s definitely won back plenty of respect from me.