All Creative Work Is Derivative

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Our second “Minute Meme,” illustrating how all creative work builds on what came before. Photographed and animated by Nina Paley. Music by Todd Michaelsen (“Sita’s String Theory,” a Bonus Track on the soon-to-be-released Sita Sings the Blues soundtrack CD!). Photographed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City. More information at High-res and Ogg versions at


Audgerie626 says:

They’re alive!

Joshua Mann says:

Those are some beautiful sculptures. That’s a great little video.

rafaelnoto says:

muito bom. parabens

Liu sandy says:


RedHawk8th says:

I love the animation

LordShandor says:

No, because I don’t want law. And fair laws don’t work because unfair people end up judging them.

mphello says:

Well now you’re cherrypicking the reasons you want the law.
Maybe the person whom you think is committing “murder” is justified to kill their slaveowner or oppressor. Or the person committing theft is taking back property stolen from them by somebody who may have vandalized their property to begin with (say, by pollution). So, now you’re just going around in circles.

Cherrypicking reasons is, by definition, illogical.

Anarchy is the only logically consistent alternative to fair laws.

LordShandor says:

Government is not a tool but an evil. It is force against the innocent. Government doesn’t do good.

With the exception of murder and theft/damage to property, the law is violence.

mphello says:

Well, yes – I meant, the creator of X using violent government to stop others from creating Y where Y is obviously different from X.

Government/law is a (violent) tool. A tool by itself is neither good or evil. Just like technology. Of course, whatever good one uses the tool of govt for has to outweigh the bad.

This also implies anyone who supports the law for any purpose, good or bad, is a violent person. Doesn’t matter how uncomfortable a fact that is to hear.

LordShandor says:


The80sKickAss says:

Good point?

LordShandor says:

try reading the words

LordShandor says:

No, the problem is trying to use government granted monopoly and the use of violence to keep people from being creative in their own way.

LordShandor says:


mphello says:

I took this video, removed one pixel from it, and now claim that I was inspired by the original.

Ok – that was a bit of a strawman. Today’s major problem is not going to such ridiculous extremes of blatantly copying but then claiming it’s not, but creating something Y that is so obviously different from X but the creator of X claiming Y is equal to X.

MrHello9128 says:

The one in the middle looks like he is having an electric shock XD

The80sKickAss says:

I understand the point of the video, I don’t entirely agree with it, tho. I can agree that most work is derivative but once in a while something comes along that stands out from everything that came before it as an original work.

Alelip1000 says:

Beautiful video.
For people who studied history of art, it’s a gem.

KLMC says:

i can watch this again and again i dont get the point…

KLMC says:

i dont get this?
explanation pls

rorshachfan says:

0:49 was that crucified Jesus dancing?

HNIW says:


bunchof6 says:


zar athustra says:


DracoAzule says:

Same goes for video games. All games require an SDK. Software development kit. So each game made is simply built using the pre existing material the programmers already have. Therefore it is a derivative works.

LimpeComAlface says:

47 people , dont have creative mind!

kirbykrew says:

“This video is age restricted based on our community guidelines”

Disgraceful. The statues in this work are marvelous pieces of art that are meant to be beheld, and have strong meaning. It shouldn’t be restricted because a penis and breasts are slightly depicted. Does this also mean that we have to be 18+ to look at the statue of David, who symbolizes individual freedom and the defeat of tyrants, solely because he is depicted nude?

Marcos Anthony says:

The same principle applies to movies, tv shows, video games, all media and creative arts. There needs to be a Steam-like business model for all of this creative media, so we can support our artists more directly. How can the studios under Hollywood withhold such an immense wealth of culture subject to extortionate prices?

rks581 says:

Powerful, remarkable in its simplicity. Starting from the simplest representations of the human form, this shows how art has evolved as a series of divergent, but derivative works, over time.

And then it stops. It cannot be suggested that gargoyles or winged heroes inspired anthropomorphic cartoons, or Greek athletes inspired superheroes. Instead of continuing to the present, the creator hits the wall of copyright law and must return to the beginning.

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