Copyright. For me this term stirs negative imagery of schoolteachers pointing their fingers in fury, warning about the dangers of plagiarism and the consequences of not referencing correctly. Recently I was posed with more questions about the necessity and implications of copyrighting, specifically digitally and online. This has left me with a struggle of sorts…
Is copyrighting a necessary measure to halt theft and restore ownership to creators? Or, is it merely a way in which large corporations regain control over public expressions? Personally, I think it’s a bit of both.
Its understandable that an online artist or anyone producing content, would want recognition for their work so copyright laws ensure that no one else can take credit for it. Alternatively, corporations in a bid to control the creativity of the growing prosumer population can implement copyright laws. This type of corporate exploitation occurred when Prince sued a woman for posting a video of her son on You Tube in which there was Prince music playing in the background.
In the ‘real world’ (the non-cyber realm), everything has value…mostly monetary. Objects are constantly being bought, sold and traded based on the value society places on them. In a way, this form of fair trade is being introduced into the digital world to ensure that online content is valued in a material way. Lets face it, it’s far too easy to just download a $2 song for free these days. I think that this lack of moral obligation to online content is due to the fact that the product being stolen is not tangible so it doesn’t feel like you’re stealing anything!
It’s clear to me as I write this blog that anything created or shared online can be copied and redistributed with far too much ease. So the benefit of online (and otherwise) Copyright laws are clear as they enable the appropriate action to be taken against anyone who willingly steals another persons creation. From my point of view, it would be extremely hard for producers or even prosumers to find recognition for their work if these copyright guidelines were not in place.
How can copyright rights be enforced? . 2012. How can copyright rights be enforced? . [ONLINE]
Available at: http://www.ag.gov.au/Copyright/Pages/Howcancopyrightrightsbeenforced.aspx. [Accessed 14 March 2012]