Copyright, What is it ? It’s Important? More Than Just Law?

Digital Storytelling Prompt on Fair Use

As a political science major and pre-law minor I have come into contact with the area of copyright and copyright law quite a number of times though I must admit I was not all that fascinated by it. This week’s blog post is different in that we will venture down the path of human interaction in a court system and the issue of copyright. I want this website to touch on different topics and aspects of everyday life and what’s more normal than people suing other people? I learned from my law class that the law is intended to be a mechanism for solving real problems and the courts were created for the purpose of allowing people to bring their issues to a mediator to find a remedy. From social media and traditional media in tv shows like Judge Judy and Law and Order, we see the simplest issues, to the craziest ones being brought to court.

So, copyright then? What’s copyright? why does it matter? 

Oh, copyright matters a lot! Tell that to those who have been sued and had to cash out because of it *yikes hate to be them, love to be the one being paid*

winning a copyright case must be like

What is copyright? Well according to Larry Lessig’s TEDTalk copyright creates a regulation on “copies” which poses a huge issue in this digital world because culture currently revolves around “recreating”.

Why is there copyright law? Well, copyright was put into place to stop said “trespassers” in this modern age from appropriating other’s content.

What is fair use? Well, this part of the law is used to determine whether a copy can be permitted without requiring permission from the copyright holder.

Now, why does this matter? well for one copyright has made it increasingly difficult for a generation built on the internet and social media culture. From this Tedtalk, one particular line that stood out to me was that “culture where creativity is consumed but the consumer is not the creator, however, digital technology is the opportunity for the revival of the vocal cords”. I found this compelling because as a millennial and the younger generations we are remixing culture both new and old just as Larry said as a means of understanding, speaking, and gaining access. Digital technology and social media have made us experts in recreating content to say things how we want to. Importantly, it has given everyone and anyone access and the ability to manipulate culture. In this class, we were able to learn the skills and use the tools to create our own meme and gifs from content that already exist. We are all like mad scientists, recreating and experimenting with an endless amount of culture that’s all around us.

Seriously, copyright makes it more difficult but on the flip side, copyright has some importance. With social media, you see more and more people using other people’s content for selfish purposes or financial benefits without crediting them. This takes away from their hard work to produce said art and I get how frustrating it must be for others to get credit for something you created. Additionally, people have been using other pictures of their products to market as their own to sell and I think copyright comes in handy in those situations.

I have been following and supporting this small business owner on Twitter for a while, she makes the cutest clothes and swimsuits! You guys should check her out! Recently I saw that other brands would use her images of herself modeling her products and marketing them as their own to sell and this clearly is a huge copyright issue. There are other examples of copyright being used too strictly such as twitch streamers who get hit with copyright law when they play music during their live streams in the background. Youtube is another example where it is monitored very strictly.

So copyright is a debatable area, one that will certainly continue to flood the courts and there are some cases where it is warranted but some people have used it to choke creativity and that sucks. Hopefully, a better balance can be found for the sake of creators.

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