We grow up being taught that we must share our things, then all of a sudden we grow up and now if we try to share, lawyers fly out like ninjas and tear strips of off us. What’s the deal? What is this copyright business and why is it such a brutal no-no?
Copyright: The Opposite of Pasteleft… isn’t it?
Copyright is a law put in place to stop anyone other than the original creator of the content from using the idea behind the content like it was their own. So, before copyright, if you wrote a masterpiece, anybody could just take it and reproduce it in their own name. Authors and publishers weren’t protected, it was a problematic time. Hence, in 1710, Queen Anne produced ‘The Statute of Queen Anne‘ (Creative title, I know). This entitled authors and publishers 14 years of ownership where they were the only ones who could decide who had the rights to use their works.
Douglas Adams’ ‘Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy’ was published in 1979, does that mean I can make my own version of how the story goes? Simple answer, No. For as long as copyright has been around, Authors and Publishers have been trying to extend it. From the original 14 years in 1710 to the Berne convention in 1886, giving ownership for 50 years after the Authors death, to the current setting, 70 years after an authors death or if created by a corporation, 120 years after creation.
Can’t get enough of copyrights? Like fast talking? Try this (Click here to view in Youtube)
Why The Long Face/Copyright length?
Let’s not beat around the bush here, Disney is behind the lengthy copyright laws. But why? Well, it’s to do with control. Disney is one of the four biggest companies in media ownership today (The others being Viacom, Newscorp and Times Warner). Disney’s overwhelming size is due to them building a ‘conglomerate’ with the control over media they collected creating content or buying it from others.
“Conglomerates sound fun”, said no one, ever, so why has Disney built such an impressive one? Preservation.
A conglomerate is A collection of sub companies that form a larger business but are distinctly separate. This means, even if one of Disney’s smaller branches falls, it won’t have an adverse affect on the rest of Disney
Want more information on these big media conglomerates? try here.
That Makes Sense, Now Why Won’t You Leave Me Alone About It?
Copyright laws are coming under hardship with the growth of the internet as it is becoming increasingly difficult to define who owns what. With the rise of sites such as Youtube, Soundcloud and DeviantArt, where the user creates the content and sharing is encouraged, traditional copyright laws are developing holes in it’s system. I know I’m gonna be keeping my eye out for big changes in the copyright system soon.