Thursday, 11 April 2013

Blurring between the lines of Copyright Laws

The internet, where everyone is an expert yet everyone is a liar. Considering the number of online communities that allow both user driven production and consumption it has become very difficult to identify truly original content. We would like to believe that the internet is a place to go where information and ideas can be shared freely across world. In my utopian society the internet would be a place with absolutely no government regulations could be enforced.  However this is not the case, as the internet has become an increasingly more relevant part of society we have also seen the agencies begin to regulate the content on the internet. By agencies I am referring to agencies other than the one that actually runs the website. I believe that if a person or company operates a website or application using the internet it is the responsibility of that and only that website to regulate the content displayed on their website.

The most historical moment of a government intervention on the internet started in the early 2000’s when Napster an audio file sharing website named in a lawsuit by major bands and record label for “pirating” songs. I think that this is the most commonly used example of why and how the discussion of copyright laws on the internet began. The topic became quite controversial because there were millions of users around the world sharing files online using Napster, the government could not arrest these people for copyright law and so began the blurring of the lines of copyright laws on the internet.
Ideally, we want the ability to express our ideas, interest, and thoughts on the internet without having to be concerned with breaking laws. However it would be unfair to steal other work and pass it off as your own. The question we are faced as a society now is, how can an online community create a freely accessible culture with the current restriction of copyright laws? Jenkins says, Ultimately, our media future could depend on the kind of uneasy truce that gets brokered between commercial media and collective intelligence.” (Jenkins) 

There is no correct answer to this question. The internet is too enormously large to create any specific laws to govern the entirety of the internet. It’s the same as trying to impose the laws from ancient Greece to our society today, it is just not viable. The internet can be used by so many for so many different purposes “Users post television clips almost as soon  (as) they have  been broadcast, which allows viewers who missed a politician’s faux pas or bits of incisive satire to see the relevant material in time to participate in water cooler conversations.” (Hilderbrand p.49) Posting television clips could be considered a copyright infringement however society can benfits from being able to get news from different sources on the internet. At the same time the evolution of dance YouTube clip is “the most viewed clip in YouTube history” (Hilderbrand p.51) violates all kinds of copyright laws and it was produced just for fun.

I guess what I’m trying to convey is that because of the vastness that is the internet, the different purposes for using the internet trying to regulate copyright laws on the internet is simply of waste of time and resources that could be used elsewhere. It can be said that to regulate and overcome copyright laws a website or person must site where the information comes from. This would help the maker of the original content receive recognition for their efforts. In the end it is a battle that will never be won by either side at least now and in the near future.

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