Module 2.2

Week 4 – 2.2 Don’t touch that!

Copyright, ownership and institutional control

This weeks readings & videos help me to understand the issues of Copyright & Fair Use and the different between the two. Recovering Fair Use by Steve Collins talked about “the internet (especially in the so-called Web 2.0 phase), digital media & file sharing networks have thrust copyright law under public scrutiny, provoking discourses questioning what is fair in the digital age.” So what is fair use and why is there such a divide between fair use and copyright.

Collins stated that copyright started in 18th century England with the Statute of Anne (1710), he goes on to discuss Justice Joseph Story and his formulation of the modern shape of fair use from a wealth of case law extending back to 1740. Collins also brings up the term “Prosumerism”, this is the first time I have heard the term and he goes on to explain. “Creativity blending media consumption with media production to create new works that are freely disseminated online via popular video sharing web sites.

” The first video this week is

This was a fun video explaining Fair Use and Copyright via the use of snippets from Disney movies. What a great idea. I found it a little hard to understand at first as the medium was so unexpected but it became easier as it went along.

The second and last item on the agenda for this week is Lessig and his discussion on The Laws that Choke Creativity. He discusses, as always, user generated content via 3 stories to get to examples.

  1. 1906 – John Phillip Sozer stated “the vocal cords of the millions will be lost” in relation to the “talking machines”. Sozer was concerned that we would become a “read only society” rather than the read/write culture.
  2. 1945 – 2 farmers, Lee & Cosby, complained to Lord Blackstone that planes did not have the permission of the landowners to fly within their lands and were thus trespassers. The Supreme Court concluded that “the doctrine protecting land all the ways to the skies has no place in the modern world” it goes on to say “common sense revolts at the idea.”
  3. 1939 – ASCAP vs BMI and the issue of broadcasting and who was in charge. competition was enough to break the legal cartel over access to music.

The argument that Lessig was trying to get across was the revival of the read/write culture that Sozer was so concerned about losing.

This video made me think about the culture of today and what it was like to be a child when I was young or even when my parents were young. We were pure consumers, we didn’t make anything, the makers made and the consumers consumed. In today’s society the consumers are producing and the producers are consuming. Our children are able to create using digital media and spread what they create on the internet.

Lessig summed it up best with “every single use of culture produces a copy and every single use therefor requires permission, without permission you are a trespasser.” Our children are growing up in a culture where they are unaware of the rules that govern copyright & fair use, the majority of them don’t even know that these things exist but through their ignorance a new generation of competition is emerging that can create balance.

“We made mixed tapes they remix music, we watched TV they make TV, it is technology that has made them different.” (Lessig)

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