Copyright is the exclusive legal right allowing you and you alone to own your work. This work can include, but isn’t limited to, artistic, literary, intellectual, musical works, etc. However an idea can’t be copyrighted. There are copyright laws because that it gives the creator of the original work “authorship” of that work. This could allow you to do many things such as, make copies of your work, distribute them, display, and perform your work or even make changes to it as you see fit. Users of the web should be very aware of copyrights as we are constantly reposting and remixing content. I know that I am very cautious on the web, I have an Instagram but I would hate for anyone to 1) take my photos, 2) without asking and 3) without giving me credit for it. I am always second guessing whether or not I want to put up a picture due to the fact that someone might just come along and take it. Fair use allows someone to borrow a small amount of a copyrighted work to teach, report news, do a parody, or to give a critical comment.
This video helped me a lot with answering the questions and to understand what copyright laws were all about:
After watching Larry Lessig’s TEDTalk the thing that Larry said that stuck out the most to me was when he said “… you should recognize what your kids are doing right now. Taking songs of today and the old songs and remixing them to make them something different.” This statement is so compelling to me because with copyright being the topic I automatically thought about music artists that want to use samples from songs. One great example of this was when Kanye West wanted to use vocals from Lauryn Hill’s song “Mystery of Iniquity” for his song entitled “All Falls Down”. However, because Lauryn Hill said no, he wasn’t able to use her sample. Kanye then had to get Syleena Johnson to re-sing all the vocal parts he wanted and was able to place it on his album “College Drop Out”. You’ll notice towards the end of the College Dropout version that Kanye says “Syleena, you just like a safe belt, you saved my life”. Music sampling means a lot to me because it is something I would like to be able to do some day, so when I heard stories like this it amazes me how quickly things can go from available to you to unavailable (and vice versa) just that quickly.
Here is the version of “All Falls Down” with Syleena Johnson: