Week 13: Copyright

31 Oct

The topic of Copyright when discussed is often hotly debated. It seems everybody has a different opinion on the laws that define copyright. Ideas are shifting on what constitutes ownership of creative material and to what extent of the original piece can be manipulated and resold as a new ‘idea’. It seems some of the laws can be unclear and contain loopholes. Under the Australian Act for copyright there are exceptions to the Laws if considered that use of copyrighted material comes under ‘fair dealing’, allowing users certain rights. However what is considered ‘fair’ will depend on all the circumstances, including the nature of the work, the nature of the use and the effect of the use on any commercial market for the work (Boyle, 1996).

The issue of copyright seems to be most problematic in the music Industry, especially as who ]constitutes ownership of creative piece is becoming increasingly blurred. Music is a medium that is immensely diverse and is consumed by the mass society, regardless of culture or age. After the digital revolution advanced, downloading high quality music via the internet by ‘file sharing’, computer savvy individuals could unlimitedly download their favourite bands and music for free. This changed the music industry as we know it. File sharing became increasingly easier to do, the general public caught on and the rate of downloading music excelled rapidly. This act of file sharing, although technically a loop hole is coincided illegal, but as it is so far widely spread there is almost no way to police it.

There are more than one implications of this breach of copyright. Firstly the artists who creative the music people enjoy are now not getting the full profit from their hard work. Essentially the consumers (the ‘fans’) are stealing straight out of their pockets. Can you see the hypocrisy? The other concern is the “speed and ease which content material can be replicated” (McIntyre, 2012). In some cases, all one needs to do to reuse another’s original music piece is change the key and tempo. This is now considered ‘fair use’. Artist’s work are basically being ripped off and sold as a new idea, which causes great success to the artist (Davidson, 2008).

But then there is the great debate. Is using a part of someone else’s work inspiration or plain plagiarism? Personally I think if we are consumers of somebody else’s intellectual property be it, music, film, media etc., there is a need to pay for that material. However if one is drawing inspiration form another’s work, along as it is manipulated to a point that it is significantly different and doesn’t consume the entity of the new project then that should be considered ‘inspiration’ not plagiarism, and credit must be paid to the original author.

McIntyre, Phillip (2012). Issues for Media Practice. The Digital Revolution: Copyright and creativity. Retrieved from http://blackboard.ecu.edu.au/webapps/portal/frameset.jsp?tab_tab_group_id=null&url=%2Fwebapps%2Fblackboard%2Fexecute%2Flauncher%3Ftype%3DCourse%26id%3D_585131_1%26url%3D

Boyle, James (1996). Shamans, Software and Spleens: Law and the Construction of the Information Society. Harvard University Press. p. 142. ISBN 0-674-80522-4.

Davison, Mark J; Ann Louise Monnotti & Leanne Wiseman (2008). Australian intellectual property law. Cambridge University Press. p. 180. ISBN 978-0-521-61338-5.

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