Digital Media and Copyright – Its Complicated.

It isn’t that digital media is complicating our relationship to copyright, its that we have always had a complicated relationship with copyright and the Internet is just the latest method in which the issue has become even more convoluted. Taylor makes it very clear that the concept of ownership of ideas and creative work has been an argument for hundreds of years. Every introduction of new technology that distributes creative work- books, records, radios, tapes, CDs, DVDs, and now the Internet – recreates a panic claiming that piracy by use of the new media will infringe on the rights and profits of those who legally own the art (though the legality of ownership versus distribution rights is another matter.)

The two major opposing views of the copyright issue can be generalized in one group as those who feel all culture should be shared freely as it was created by being influenced by existing culture. The other group are those who feel that something created is something owned and to be profited upon. Granted neither of these groups uphold or represent the views of most artists who wish to create their work for all to have access to it, but also want to pay their bills and have the means to create more art. The creators themselves are not often present in current legal debates about copyright law.

Digital media has further complicated this debate of ownership of content as the Internet, which does not actually produce a physical product, makes the ability to share information and media easier and faster than media (vinyl, cassette tapes, etc) of the past. More media is being shared without compensation than ever before. Internet platforms have also created new ways to profit via distribution that cut the artist from ownership of their own art. These media companies justify their actions by threatening to not distribute the artist’s work at all, cutting them off from any potential profit however minuscule.


Comments are closed.