The Issue of Copyright Infringement

Everyone has heard the term “copyright infringement” at least once before, whether it had been on the news, a commercial, or YouTube. Copyright infringement is the use of some type of material or content (such as music, video, or a photograph) that is protected by copyright law without the permission of the owner of said content. The reason why we have copyright laws is so that people can’t steal the work of others and claim it as their own.

Copyrighting is definitely something that all web users should always have in mind when trying to create or reproduce something. It’s a serious crime that can land you a hefty fine, or even worse, time in prison. But this doesn’t mean that I completely agree with copyright laws. A person should be able to use original content and change it, to a certain degree to suit their tastes or needs, without the fear of being punished for it. Most original content was inspired by something else anyway, so in a sense, you could say that there technically isn’t such a thing as “original content” because it all comes from another source one way or another. But I definitely don’t condone stealing someone’s work, not changing it at all, and claiming it. There has to be some apparent difference between the original work and the new work that’s being claimed in order for it not to be considered copyright infringement. I think a person should be allowed to use original material in their idea or project as long as they source it or ask for permission beforehand (if it’s a person/company that is easy to get in contact with).

After watching Larry Lessig’s TED Talk: Laws That Choke Creativity, one statement that he mentions really moved me. He says “Culture moved from this read-write to read-only existence”. I can only think to imagine that he means, we have become a society filled with individuals that are no longer creating new things from old things but are simply reiterating or re-experiencing certain aspects of our culture without really contributing to its growth. I think to an extent this is true. We really haven’t developed as quickly as we thought we would have hundreds of years ago, and that might be because we’re simply taking old innovations and making them newer rather than making them better or just coming up with new ideas altogether.

By Katelyn Kemble

Creative and technical student studying at York College; steering towards majoring in Communications Technology.

CT101 Digital Storytelling