As much as I wanted to embed this video it was not possible to get the code from YouTube, but I will provide you with this link so that you can go and enjoy this cheerful and encouraging clip of Monty Python’s “Life of Brian”.

It is actually funny that I can’t get a hold of the code, because it is probably related to the issues that I will discuss in this post: Copyright.

Probably you have sung that song, or at least tuned along with the line “always look at the bright side of life”? Do you know that every time you do that you are breaching copyright rules? This was brought to my attention yesterday and I was quite surprised to hear it. How many times haven’t I been singing “Happy birthday to you”?! Little did I know I was commencing a criminal act.

I would say that it is a case of “fair use“, but unless I have some further criticism or comments to the song, or a reason to use it in a news report or for teaching it is not considered as fair use. I have absolutely no rights to sing it.

Today the media conglomerates, like e.g. Disney own several different companies which operate in different fields (movies, TV, music, publishing etc.), this help them build a “consolidation model” (Mitew 2012). For example: They produce one movie and continuously earn money off its production through TV programs, music soundtracks, books, games, commercials and so on. This is also called “economies of scale” and gives the conglomerates a financial security. So they control very much of the flowing content. On top of this they own the copyrights to all of this content which gives them control of how the content is used as well. It also gives us very little left to “play” with.

Their goal is to control all content and users, but one problem has occurred: The internet.

Suddenly we have the power to upload and share all the content we want, and it’s free! So the value that was given to the conglomerates via copyright laws is now no longer valuable, people no longer pay for their productions because they can get them for free on the Internet. Piracy is indeed a crime, but is it correct that it is either that or the conglomerates get total control over content and user?

I think creative commons is a good answer to this issue. Creative commons allow you to share and remix others work as long as you attribute the work as specified by the author. In this manner people, artists, industries and others can choose to be a part of it or not. It opens up for many opportunities and leaves us with a society where we can act more freely. And last but not least, we would not have to be criminals anymore.

References:

Mitew, T 2012, Watch, but don’t touch! Copyright, ownership structures, and industry control, BCM112, Convergent Media Practices, University of Wollongong, delivered 12 March.

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Comments
  1. Great referencing 🙂 and your blog is great; raises some good questions.

    Like

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