Copyrights aka a license to play

Posted: August 22, 2012 in Global Networks
Tags: , , , , ,

Who would have thought that information and ideas would become so important that it would shape a whole new economy. Given that products and created out of ideas the information becomes a commodity, and of course then the importance of owning the idea and being in control of how it is used is crucial to ensure the economic profit of it. This brings us to the issue of copyright which can be defined as “a bundle of intangible rights granted by statute to the author or originator of certain literary or artistic productions, whereby, for a limited period, the exclusive privilege is given to that person (or to any party to whom he or she transfers ownership) to make copies of the same for publication and sale.”

For a limited time? The first time someone was granted monopoly it was for 14 years, but today it is for 70 years after the author’s death or 120 years after creation if it is a corporate authorship (Mitew 2012), and in some cases e.g. videogames, it appears to be forever! Not so limited anymore.

It is hard to take a stand regarding copyrights. I see that a business/person wants to defend its rights to the commercial part of its own idea, but has it gone too far? When a company argues it has patent on the shape  “rectangular”, I feel we are moving towards a locked and limited society where we put a lid on ideas and enhance control.

With the Internet in mind I fear the war on copyright will exist forever unless they start censoring it, which is not an alternative. Billions of dollars are spent on court-cases to resolve disputes, a real waste of money really. From this perspective the idea of removing copyrights as a whole looks good, at least it would be interesting to see how it would work or if it WOULD work. But I guess I need to do a lot more investigation into that before I make a statement.

Meanwhile I suggest we take a look at the concept of “fair use” which ought to be less strict. Someone I know uploaded a video to YouTube and was asked to remove it because the music which was being played in the background (not provided by the creator of the video, but recorded randomly in the video) was copyrighted. If that is not an example of fair use, then I do not know what is.

Mitew, T 2012, Against the Law: Intellectual Property and Content Control, lecture, DIGC202, Global Networks, University of Wollongong, delivered 20 August.

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Comments
  1. fskentzos says:

    I agree with your statement “When a company argues it has patent on the shape “rectangular”, I feel we are moving towards a locked and limited society where we put a lid on ideas and enhance control.” but being a marketing student I also see it from the other side which is what makes this subject so interesting to me. As silly as it may seem the shapes and colours that people patent from their product are the things that define their product and their branding on a global scale. The power of a patent is amazing! Apple just won over 1 billion dollars from Samsung because they infringed Apple’s patents.

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    • heien says:

      The power of patent really is amazing, a bit too amazing for my taste actually! I just can’t find peace in the fact that apple can grant exclusive rights to a shape of a device. To me it is strangling creativity. Maybe especially i apple’s case, where they have actually copied many of their now patented things from earlier ideas, and just because they were first in line for the patent gives them the right to block samsung from the market in this way. I think apple is a typical example of patent gone bad..

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  2. cbutcherpiat says:

    I’d agree with you in saying that it is hard to take a stand regarding copyright. I am still undecided, even after reading an array of blogs and material on this week’s focus. But everyone has different incentives and explanations for pursuing such control. I think that sites like Facebook, because everyone can relate to this, take control of user interaction and copyright regimes to another level and the social implications are vague and ambiguous. Facebook is not only a social networking site but rather a place of social engineering. The media have implicitly changed the way people use it. We, as users, are made to believe we have control and ownership of our profiles and standings; however such networking spaces and public spaces are systematically regulated.

    I think the biggest threat we face from the Internet, law, policy, and governance relates to the dominant corporate interests who use the legal domain to control our information and ‘enclose’ access to us and diminish our future ventures.

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    • heien says:

      I can perfectly understand that an organization like Facebook takes advantage of these ownershiprights as long as they can. When it comes to social media the laws and regulations we have today are really not up to date with the technological age, and it is important for users privacy that they change and adapt. Personally I have been scared off by Facebook’s way of trying to maintain and control us users and try to avoid posting things there, especially photos etc. If apple can patent rectagular shapes I want to be allowed to patent my own pictures on Facebook! But as I said at start, as long as they can, I can understand that they do.

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  3. Alysse says:

    I too struggle to take a set stance in regards to copyrights. Individuals and companies have every right to protect their ideas and creations, but when we see it turning into such ridiculous and immense patent wars it is evident how limiting and restricting copyright laws can in fact be. Creativity and innovation is suppressed, and those with monopoly of the markets definitely come out on top. You are right, it really is a waste of money and it’s such a shame to see tremendous amounts of resources deposited into such insignificant matters.

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