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issues

Page history last edited by PBworks 12 years, 12 months ago

In today's class I would like to talk about two issues that are very inportant to me personally.

 

Copyright Reform

 

What is Copyright? - Copyright is a set of exclusive rights regulating the use of a particular expression of an idea or information. At its most general, it is literally "the right to copy" an original creation. In most cases, these rights are of limited duration.

 

 Copyright varies from country to country, but since 1886 many countries have agreed to honor each other's copyrights by signing the Berne Convention. The Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works is an international agreement about copyright, which was first adopted in Berne, Switzerland in 1886.

 

To date, 163 countries have signed the agreement.

 

The Berne Convention requires its signatories to recognise the copyright of works of authors from other signatory countries (known as members of the Berne Union) in the same way it recognises the copyright of its own nationals, which means that, for instance, French copyright law applies to anything published or performed in France, regardless of where it was originally created.

 

The Berne Convention states that all works except photographic and cinematographic shall be copyrighted for at least 50 years after the author's death, but parties are free to provide longer terms, as the European Union did with the 1993 Directive on harmonising the term of copyright protection. For photography, the Berne Convention sets a minimum term of 25 years from the year the photograph was created, and for cinematography the minimum is 50 years after first showing, or 50 years after creation if it hasn't been shown within 50 years after the creation.

 

Another important treaty dealing with copyright is the TRIPS agreement, signed as part of the WTO negotiations.

 

What's wrong with our copyright law?

 

Originally included in the drafting of the Constitution:

 

The Framers of our Constitution viewed inventions and expression not as "property", but as public goods to which exclusive rights may be granted purely as a means of incenting production. Thomas Jefferson expressed the then-dominant view with characteristic felicity in an 1813 letter:

If nature has made any one thing less susceptible than all others of exclusive property, it is the action of the thinking power called an idea, which an individual may exclusively possess as long as he keeps it to himself; but the moment it is divulged, it forces itself into the possession of every one, and the receiver cannot dispossess himself of it. Its peculiar character, too, is that no one possesses the less, because every other possesses the whole of it. He who receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mine, receives light without darkening me . . . .

Inventions then cannot, in nature, be a subject of property. Society may give an exclusive right to the profits arising from them, as an encouragement to men to pursue ideas which may produce utility, but this may or may not be done, according to the will and convenience of the society, without claim or complaint from anybody.

 

At the time, and until 100 years ago, copyright pretty much covered print publication, both of ideas and text (poetry) and images.

 

Today, on the other hand, we have hundreds of formats for digital reproduction and distribution of a huge variety of content: books and images, but also music recordings, video, software, databases, multimedia presentations, etc.

 

When almost any content can be copied multiple times or distributed instantly to thousands of simultaneous users, can conventional copyright effectively protect modern content?

 

What we have today is two silmultaneous struggles in the copyright relm.

 

Media Corporations vs. Illegal Downloaders

 

  •     Most copyrights are not held by the actual creators (although most of them have contracts that insure that they share in profits) but by corporations. These companies have vested financial interests in making people pay for the right to view, copy or reuse their content (music, movies, TV shows, games, software, reporting). They are constantly trying to develop new protecctions, encoding schemes and electronic protections. However, protection has to be transparent.
  • On the other hand, we have millions of hackers, college students, teenagers and foreign distributors who are cracking the protections almost as fast as they can be updated.
  • Marketing data show that over 90% of profits in new media come within first year. Therefore, protection only needs to last that long. Companies are content with making copying a hassel or technologically difficult.

 

At the same time, current copyright law is an all or nothing proposition.  In fact, there are thousands of new media content creators who are open to their work being copied, sampled, virally distributed, reused and altered, with some limits, which may vary from creator to creator.

 

Currently, if they decline copyright, they forfeit all of their rights

 

Enter Creative Commons

 

What is Creative Commons?

 

 

Watch video

 

How to Create a Liscence

 

 

 

What is Net Neutrality?

 

Organization of the Internet

 

Save the Internet

 

 

July 16 Video

 

Another Net Neutrality video

 

 

More videos from Save the Internet

 

 

 

Why we aren't worried....(about being sued)

 

  • The First Ammendment
  • Protection of Political Speech
  • Diminished Privacy Rights of Public Figures
  • Parody protection
  • Freedom of the Press
  • .edu
  • harvard.edu
  • law.harvard.edu
  • anonimity
  • humor blog
  • hazy memory
  • picture pointer
  • opps, sorry

 

 

 

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