Auto Attribution in Remix Culture

Posted: February 13, 2012 at 9:32 am

In a panel discussion regarding copyright at ISEA Istanbul (2011) it occurred to me that beyond the corporate and monetary aspects of copyright is the notion of attribution, the acknowledgement that someone else has contributed to a work. This is highly relevant to my previous post on ownership.

The idea was simply that it would be interesting for each cultural artifact (sound, video, image, etc.) to have a list of contributors. When those items are remixed and recontextualized, the resulting construction would concatenate all the contributors from each component. The result would be a growing history of all those that contributed to a work. One could even imagine that each contribution could be to a degree, perhaps tied to the difference between the “original” (previous incarnation) and the remixed permutation. There could even be a section for “inspiration” where indirect attribution could be made.

Such a system would be extremely interesting in the context of the analysis and visualization of cultural artifacts, as such lists of attribution over time have much potential to illuminate how ideas and forms propagate through culture.