Copy? R-i-i-i-i-ght…

What is copyright? Why is there copyright? How much should users of the web think about copyright as you and others share, re-share, and remix content on the web? What is fair use? Think about these questions and watch Larry Lessig’s TEDTalk How creativity is being strangled by the law. In a blog post, find a quote from the talk that you find compelling and tell us why. Also respond to the questions posed above.

As a further reflection on “fairness” and fair use consider three cases that actually tangled with the legal system under copyright law. First, Andy Baio a software developer for Kickstarter writes and speaks about his experience being sued by a photographer and is forced to settle and pay thousands of dollars. This is despite the fact he believes the law is on his side and so does his pro-bono counsel the EFF.

Second famous appropriation artist Richard Prince is sued by photographer Patrick Cariou for Prince’s use of Cariou’s photographs in a number of collages. At first the courts sided with Cariou the photographer, but then on the appeals court reversed the decision in favor of the Prince’s remixes being fair use.

Third consider the recent decision that ruled that Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams infringed on Marvin Gaye’s song.

In a blog post, find a quote from both Andy Baio’s case and Richard Prince’s case that you agree with, disagree with, or both. Tell us why. Also tell us whether you think law around fair use is working. How would you change copyright law and fair use if you were in charge.

Digital Storytelling Prompt on Fair Use – Create an image, GIF, video, and/or piece of audio that reworks a quote and/or image found in any of the linked essays. Think about possibly creating a poster that uses an image and quote. Or create a video or audio remix that samples from the Andy Baio and/or Larry Lessig talks. Or maybe come up with something on your own that is inspired by these discussions. In your post, remember to use links to reference texts incorporated in your work as well as give context to the work.

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 … Continue reading

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.