Digital media is definitely complicating our relationship to copyright. This are too easily accessible and available for it not to be. I believe us as a people have always struggled with copyrighting and the internet and other forms of digital media have done nothing but simplify the situation. I recall a time when people would run lines from their neighbor’s antenna to their house to get cable. They got what they wanted without paying for a cable package. Then it went on to be people with video cameras in the theaters recording movies to make copies to sell. Now they can download anything from anywhere and make copies from the comfort of their living room in their pajamas. It becomes an issue of what people think should be paid for and what should be free. “Knowledge cannot be owned and we have a responsibility to share it” (Taylor, Loc 2216). We are in an age that we will seek out information by any means. This also sparks the the conversation as to what can be classified as copyright worthy and what is not. Money is what makes this is most other countries run so inasmuch as many would like to have people come in contact with their work, their are costs to almost every effort. “While we all know what ‘expensive’ means, ‘free’ has a fundamental ambiguity, an ambiguity central to the Internet. Free can mean something that no one can own, that belongs to all. It can also mean free in cost” (Taylor, Loc 2234). If you cannot classify what free is, then how can you classify what should be copywritten? Every artist wants to get paid for their work but also wants it to be seen/heard. At the same time there are areas that should be available and are being restricted and there are those that feel it should not be. I think there will always be those people who will make sure what they want or what they feel others should have, is made available by any means. If not through digital media, they would create it as they always have.
The complication of the relationship between digital media and the copyright system exists because groups like the Recording Industry Association of America and others are of a different mind than those who support openess in regards to the way the internet should be used; on the one hand, some think that an authors’s creative work can be considered property, and the other group , feels that work produced by an individual is derived from and thus belongs to, all of society based on the concept of cultural commons. These two issues complicate the application of copyright laws because of the internet’s ability to share, edit, even alter the work of another author without cost or payment, is an affront to the very principles upon which copyright law is based. For example Taylor recounts that her documentary, which cost her considerable time and expense is leaked on the internet to her dismay because she had plans to get back some of the money she invested by charging people to see it. Those who oppose her efforts claim that because her documentary is based on philosophy, a dicipline they believe to belong to the cultural commons, it is not a violation of reasonable use ethics to share it without her permission. Although, as she explains, constitutional clause gives compulsory copyright protection to “…any expression that has been fixed in any medium…” (2014:148), this issue is skirted on the internet because what would be considered reasonable use under the traditional system of content distribution is now called into question because of the internet’s unique capacity to instantly copy and distribute creative works. Contrastingly, she points out that this sort of piracy of another’s creative work effects all sides of the issue to different degrees. Pointing to the fact that a multi- million dollar judgement exists against a Swedish .com company in a case involving piracy and mass file sharing on a site called BitTorrent (2014:159).
Digital Media is very complicated when it comes to our relationship to copyright. So much information and knowledge is passed through digital media that ownership becomes very blurry. In reading the first few pages of chapter 5 of Taylor’s book, the author herself had issues with copyright when her documentary was pirated and posted online. She explained the costs in making the documentary and how her film being pirated may actually take money out of her pocket. It is a valid concern. The people who pirated the documentary also made a valid point. So who’s right in this situation? This example is a little more complicated because if you are actually making a documentary to spread knowledge to people you must know sooner or later this is going to be a work that is used as an educational reference.
Another example of the complexity of our relationship to copyright is the billions of people who have access to the internet and to digital media. How can you police that many people if they’ve stolen someone’s copyright. Of course there are laws in place but to catch every single offender would be too large a task. As a 2011 report to the UK government noted in the chapter, “The copyright regime cannot be considered fit for the digital age when millions of citizens are in daily breach of copyright, simply for shifting a piece of music or a vide from one device to another.”
Copyright protection is trying to get better with things like content ID systems and Digital Rights Management software but it’s still a heavy burden for the copyright owner. There are those who create content who may not be able to afford this protection. A lot of times artists take chances with their work being pirated leaving them with no guarantee of a financial gain. And some, if not most, only hope that their art can provide for themselves and their families.
This topic particularly is intriguing to me because I aspire to be an entertainment attorney who specializes in Intellectual Property Law. I believe that digital media is complicating our relation to copyright and bad things are happening to intellectual property because the laws have not yet caught up to the ever growing world of technology and digital media that exist today. There are so many copyright infringements that are happening today with digital media, and laws are not protecting the authors of the property because there is so much “networked amateurism” that prevents the laws from protecting the property of those who are unaware.
In Chapter 5: “The Double Anchor”, Taylor explains how; “we are moving from a creative economy of scarcity to one of abundance”, which simply means that creativity is null and void and that everything that is posted online is copied, sold, exchanged, traded, and duplicated for capital gain and profit. Taylor also explains that “creative work is available without limit, freely accessible; it tends also to become free of charge”. Therefore, it is unfortunate for the creator of works such as photos, literature, art and song, if the work is used freely and liberally without protection. Digital media is complicating copyright laws because of the gross infringement of works that are not protected because laws have not been set in place to protect the author. It’s unfair and unjust because works are being bought and sold while the creator gets nothing in return.
In an article posted for “Wired.com” by Vitalli Soldatenko entitled: “Copyright and Intellectual Property: Change is Coming” Soldatenko explains that “Our current intellectual property system benefits corporations by complicating the process of protecting the rights of content creators. In an era where opportunities and innovations abound our system is almost a tragic comedy.” He also thinks that we are moving in the direction where authors’ works will be protected, and we can move forward as business and consumer without the complications of creator content being compromised. However, today while the internet has made our lives easier, it certainly has made it a lot more complicated because big corporation benefits and we are lost in this paradox of having things made easy without looking at how and why.
Digital media complicates our relationship to copyright through the ease in downloading, uploading, copying, and sharing of files such as movies, books, and music. An example of this is Taylor’s documentary Examined Life. A fully copy of the film and clips of it as well were posted online where it can be watched for free. Although Taylor felt grateful for the uploaders’ support of the film, she wrote to the uploaders with the hope that they would remove the film online because she would like viewers to pay for it when they watch it as a way for her to recover the amount of money she spent on the film production.
Copyright would grant Taylor control as the owner of her product as to who can access, use, or duplicate her work. However, there is also the concept of cultural ownership. According to Taylor, “The minute a film is released or an essay is published, it begins to race around the Internet, passed through peer-to-peer networks, posted on personal Websites, quoted in social media streams. In one sense, therefore, any ownership claim is fanciful, since, in practice, people’s creations circulate in ways they cannot control” (p. 145).
Because everything spreads easily online, including movies, e-books, and music, it becomes accessible for everyone. And when it gets easily accessible, it usually becomes free of charge to use. There’s a group of people who believe that creative work, art, and culture should be available for everyone to use for free, and there’s also another group of people who believe that they should be paid for. It would just be fair for the creators of the work to be compensated for their hard work and the financial expenses involved in the production of their work. They create their product for everyone to enjoy, but they also need to make a living.
In the chapter “ The Double Anchor” it is seen that copyright has been in the rise since the welcoming of digital media. Has it been applied to digital media regulations on its entirely, not necessarily. It is so easy to search and at the instant of a click one could have access to information that is exposed by others. Nowadays, it is hard to define who is the owner of an idea when hundreds are able to share and even duplicate without ones consent. Digital media has facilitated the access to films that are still at movies, music that is not meant to be free and instead could be very easily downloaded, and also the access to articles that is not meant to be free and instead needs subscription.
As an example “ Companies like Facebook and Google, in contrast, mostly make their money by controlling the platforms on which people distribute various kinds of media, and selling access to their base to advertiser “ (Taylor, Loc 2409). The problem resides in the big corporations; they are the ones who profit from all these clicks and what the public and consumers have access too. Technology has made it easy to copy, burn and “jailbreak”.
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.
In Taylor’s chapter, “The Double Anchor” she describes how digital media continues to cause a problem when the intentions to protect your creative works arise. Copyright laws are in place to ensure that original works are safe from being taken. With the expanding influence of the Internet, we are constantly seeing “original works” replicated and reproduced in numerous ways. Taylor defines this sweeping trend to blur the lines between creators producing work that is being considered free knowledge while having the creator lose out on a profit.
The copyright debate is one that Taylor speaks of with regard to having the rights to finished products. Artists might draw inspiration from previous work to make a film, write a book, or compose a song, however they should be considered as their work to claim. She poses the question of who can claim knowledge and whether it is free. the notion of “free” and ownership is a topic she discusses. With works being shared, the concept of owning anything has changed and many artistic industries have been largely affected. Essentially not all creators find the exposure to be such a negative thing, while others find themselves losing out with the rise of this new digital age.
In chapter 5 “The Double Anchor” we talk about digital media and copyright and how they are related. Copyright is a right made by the law that allows the maker of the unique work have an exclusive rights for sharing and using. This right usually has a limited time. “Copyright, from day one, was designed to be both, an impediment and an incentive, a mechanism of enclosure and catalyst of sorts, a structure to stimulate the production of literary goods by rewarding writers and publishers for their labor”.
In our digital time people have their own vision of this situations. Many of them think that stuff like movies, music and etc. have to be free. For example, in Taylor’s book we talk about the documentary “Examined Life” which after the premiere was found online right away. Person who made this movie needs copyright because he spent a lot of money, energy and time to make that movie. Of course in return he wanted to have some profit. At the end he doesn’t get any of it or just a little bit because his work was sharing online for free. After something got posted in the Internet, you can’t control it anymore. At the same time it doesn’t belong to that person and it become free: “Free can mean something that no one can own, that belongs to all”. The information goes from one computer to the Internet, than from network into another computer and this process keeps repeating and people don’t stop sharing information. “When creative work is available without limit, freely accessible, it tends also to become free of charge. This tendency leads us straight to what” long been called the “paradox of value”, or the diamond-water paradox. Diamonds are valuable for being scarce, but water, which we need to live, is comparatively worthless”.
Hybrid Assignment # 3
Digital media has been complicating our relationship to copyright in many different ways and it has been affecting us tremendously even more now than it ever has before. I believe that it all begins with having no “in-between’s” when trying to make a successful living through digital media, or even make a living at all. It seems as though it’s either you make it extremely big, or the years of hard work and dedication goes unnoticed due to the work being spread across the internet in fast speed with just a click of a button. The work being spread across the internet comes with a catch; that the information that is being shared is free. As Taylor mentions in chapter 5, “free” can mean something that no one can own, that belongs to all. That alone is a big dilemma for the creators.
Another problem mentioned in chapter 5 is that making movies is not cheap. Taylor states that even in this age of digital video, and support for many different projects, everyone comes with high expenses. How can an artist create work with their own knowledge and creativity or even with their team and not be given what they deserve in return? What would be the purpose to begin a hard project if the goal is to have the work float around the media for free? This should be something that the creator gets to have a say on; how their work should be distributed. Unfortunately, it seems as though the complications between digital media and copyright will continue to exist unless we fight for change.