COPYRIGHT IS ALSO FUN

I still have people following me from other classes. To you, I am sorry. Sort of.

So, copyright. It’s kind of an awkward thing these days. We have one side of the issue that, yes, people who create content need money to feed their children and whatnot, and then we have the consumer who doesn’t really feel like spending money. Now, since getting stuff for free is so easy, it presents a problem to those who want our money.

So in an attempt to solve this problem, companies have bitched to the government to stop people from downloading. The result: an adorable attempt to regulate the internet with bills like SOPA and Bill C-10. I think SOPA ended up not passing (for now) but they’re still trying. Basically, who’s right? Do we have a right to get whatever we want for free, or do those who create it have a right to regulate who gets it, and what they do with it?

The answer, in my humblest of opinions, lies somewhere in the middle of these two extremes. Clearly people need to be paid for what they do (even if they get completely ripped off by whatever company they happen to be working for) but suing ten year olds for downloading songs? Good Lord, people. Calm the hell down.

I’ve made this point in previous posts from other classes, but maybe we no longer buy movies, or music, or even books, because they’re not worth buying. I know that’s what I do, at least. I’ll support the artist of a song if I believe they’re making quality music (and to buy the actual CD around here is going way out of my way, since HMV mostly sells crappy mainstream bullshit). So maybe since most of what is pumped out by the entertainment business is completely terrible, we’ve stopped giving them our money. I have no shame in downloading a movie I thought was mediocre (though if I didn’t like it, why am I downloading it, I suppose you could argue).

Anyway, this is really only one part of a very large issue. Another is fair use; for example, taking a television show, cutting up certain parts of it, and putting it back together to tell a different story should be considered fair use for parody or whatever you want. And, to my knowledge, it is. So why are channels and videos being banned on Youtube? In fact, I watch one particular parody series on Youtube by this guy whose channel is taken down almost every other month. He made a short video that is actually pretty relevant to the course: Youtube has changed its policy when it comes to videos and copyright. If I understand correctly, it used to be that if your video got taken down, you could contact Youtube to tell them how you weren’t actually violating any copyright laws, and if they accept it, your video will be put back up. But now, they’ve done away with that system, so if your video gets taken down, well, that sucks for you.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8KFPBH24hPo&list=UU2NU0s1H0p9N4jvF7qV59vA If anyone is interested.

At the end of the day, is copyright evil? Not when it’s done fairly. But hey, it’s the government, and fair isn’t a part of their vocabulary. So people deserve to get paid, but we like to have things for free. And the degree to which people are being punished for these “violations” of copyright law is pretty…extreme. Perhaps when the content we download is actually good, then maybe they can guilt us into paying for things again. Maybe.

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