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Avoiding Creativity

From the WSJ blog “Digits” comes this note about the growth of video mashup art and its grudging but growing acceptance by rights owners. EFF’s Corynne McSherry is quoted:  “‘Companies are realizing, sometimes reluctantly, sometimes all too slowly that, … you can’t fight new technologies,’ she says. ‘You need to adjust your business model to what’s actually happening on the ground and figure out how you can benefit from it as opposed to just fighting it all the time.'”

I had a slightly different reaction, after reading this summary of some recent research about creativity.  Jennifer Mueller, at the Wharton School, has run experiments suggesting that under some circumstances individuals have a subconsicious bias against the new.

Skepticism about video mashups may not be due entirely to fear of new technologies and disruption of business models.   There may also be a deeper skepticism, both inside rights-owning enterprises and elsewhere (some courts, perhaps?), that video mashups, remixes, and other things are (or should be treated as) recognizably “creative.”

Professor Mueller’s findings prompt me to wonder as well whether and how they might be integrated with the Sprigman/Buccafusco experimental work on creators and the endowment effect — what Chris and Chris call “the creativity effect.” Is it possible not that creators overvalue their creations, but that consumers might be primed to undervalue them?