So apparently there once was a time, way back, when there was no such thing as copyright. This was when the notion of property related only to scarce resources (land). Anyone could freely copy, modify or sell content created by others. Can you believe that? I can’t that’s for sure. I can’t even comprehend how the world would function without copyright laws, it’s what we now know to be the norm, and lawful. Just imagine if we were able to sell other people’s ideas and creations, we’d all be millionaires. Wouldn’t we? However, why would someone pay for the rights to use something they could steal? The great Shakespeare lived in this world and was even accused of plagerism. Does that mean any one of us could have stolen or ‘borrowed’the ideas and themes of his magnificent plays and claimed them as our own? I guess so.
I find this revelation completely mind boggling. Living in a world where ideas were considered public commons, to now where you can not use another’s words without having to cite or reference them. Although it aims to protect one’s intellectual property and creations, I believe it to be quite ridiculous actually that, for example, filming something with the radio playing a song in the background, is considered a breach of copyright and ownership laws according to Digital Rights Management (DRM) as it extends control over all primary and derivative content.
Does that mean this is copyright? Surely not, he’s too young and cute to be a criminal.
No advertising=no tv channel or no newspaper, therefore, ultimately, big companies such as Disney do in fact own and control the medium to some extent. Scalability allows for extended product life and an extended product life equates to more profit. A few hits outperform the rest by orders of magnitude for example James Cameron’s Avatar which cost $500 million to produce and created a massive $3 billion revenue. IP rights serve as anchors to content and lock in control so it can extend product life. On the flip side though, it is impossible to predict a film’s financial success.
Not all is bad though. I was starting to believe that all I have ever written, thought or created was an infringement on some sort of copyright or ownership law. However, I have found that there is actually a light at the end of the copyright tunnel. Creative Commons. It allows flexible licenses but keeps some rights are reserved. It enables an infrastructure where anybody can participate without asking permission. What a relief!
All this copyright talk is seriously overwhelming, especially when told that a creator has monopoly over his or her creation for 70 years after death. All I can say is I will be dotting my I’s and crossing my T’s when it comes to citing and referencing material with major diligence.