Kirby Ferguson: Creating is Stealing

Email a Friend
From and

You've probably heard the American tune, "This Land is Your Land." What you probably haven't heard is "When the World's on Fire," the song whose melody Woody Guthrie stole to write his patriotic ode. 

Now think about the last time you did something creative. Did you have help? If the answer is no…the answer is still yes.

That’s according to Kirby Ferguson, a filmmaker and creator of the four-part video series, “Everything is a Remix.” In the series, Ferguson takes viewers through a long history of artistic borrowing in film, from scenes ripped off by Star Wars to countless homages paid by Quentin Tarantino in the Kill Bill series. He's also bent on outing melody thieves like Led Zeppelin, who shamelessly took hooks and lyrics from their blues predecessors.

And it’s not just in music and movies that artists steal from other artists. It’s already happened in design during the war of smartphones. What did Apple steal from Samsung and what did Samsung steal from Apple? If we’re ever going to stop clogging up our legal pipes with endless patent lawsuits, Ferguson says we have to accept the ugly truth that creativity is stealing.