When I was a kid, if I wanted to copy information, I would pick up a book and hand write the sentences from it. If I wanted a picture, I would hold the image up to a window, steal some of mum’s oven bake paper, and trace the picture from the book. This is how I completed all of my school assignments, cutting up magazines and newspapers, and sticking them at the bottom of a written piece – or even better free drawing them myself.
Today as a uni student, I go onto Pexels (or Google Images if I feel like a real criminal) and press Ctrl +C on my laptop. In a world of copies, we want originality apparently, as Kevin Kelly suggests that free copied content has eight disadvantages, one of those being a lack of authenticity.
Does running your profile picture through an editing app mean that it is authentic? I mean, you haven’t copied the photo or stolen anyone’s identity, so that must mean it’s 100% yours. If you have any brain cells at all, you’re yelling at your laptop screen right now “Obviously it’s not authentic if it has been edited, you are telling the world a lie.” But isn’t the whole internet fake?
Is Facebook successful because they are selling you a fantasy that everyone wants to be apart of? Facebook gives you what every movie, book and game cannot. The power to control what others perceive you to be. In any of the mediums above you can escape from reality and enter a new one. On Facebook, you create your own reality, making it look like a life that others would be jealous of – does it mean that the ‘reality’ is real though?
Technically, free editing apps give prod-users the ability to use the same filters. Hence the millions of people around the world using these apps to enhance the appeal of their pictures are all copying each other. It seems as though that the aesthetic perfect lifestyle has been copied by many individuals.
If we want to circle this back to McLuhan, we could say that the medium itself (Facebook) itself is an aesthetic platform to host hyper reality or utopian content developed by users. Our change in behaviour is the message relaying out addiction to perfection, and the belief that perfection can only be achieved if we have complete control.
What’s your verdict? Do you think that editing apps are a form of copying?