Is Copyright Right?

Can you imagine a world without government protection over our ‘intellectual property’? A time where that dreadful ‘copyright’ word didn’t exist? I can and it sends shivers down, up, and then back down my spine.

Okay, so maybe that’s a remark of sarcasm, but hey, don’t be disheartened, I’ve got some legitimate issues to raise.

1)   What is copyright anyway?

To put it simply, copyright is the exclusive right of the creator of a work. The function of copyright is to protect a producer’s work from being utilized, modified or passed on without permission. Most fancy-pants academics nowadays argue that copyright encourages innovation. It is a notion I cannot ignorantly deny – in theory it is utter brilliance – however, here in the real world, I think they’ve taken the bus a bit far on this one.

Take YouTube for example. You’re making a nice photomontage of that trip you took to Paris with your boyfriend and decide that One Direction’s latest hit will make for the perfect backing track (who am I kidding? One Direction suits nothing perfectly). You grab the mp3, pop it over the top of the video, upload it, and away we go! Then, to your utter dismay, you receive a horrific message from YouTube themselves either requesting you take the video down or informing you that they’ve already taken the liberty of doing so themselves.

So lessons learnt from this? Firstly, copyright can seem overwhelmingly feeble sometimes, after all, what were you really doing wrong? Secondly, that’s what you get for loving that 12-year-old British boy band.

2)  Does copyright really encourage innovation?

Now, I’ve thought long and hard about this one, and although I have reached no clear answer, I’ll do my best to shed some light on the issue.

What people will argue is that copyright provides “a kind of legal monopoly that safeguards the results of creative effort as an incentive for people to engage in that effort.” I can relate to this statement, after all, no one likes a copycat, but I just wonder, will locking something away stop a bit of idea-stealing? Sometimes I think that perhaps the extreme restrictions put in place provoke the disrespect of copyright protection. As human beings we rebel to prove a point! How do we know that implementing such strict copyright protection is helping instead of adding to the problem?

I look back to the simpler times. To the days when dinosaurs roamed the land, or when Einstein graced the world with his spectacular mind. In both events, copyright was unheard of, but still, 100 odd years later Einstein’s findings have been credited back to him time after time, and he has retained (pretty much) all glory from his work. This says to me, that maybe we are over doing it! So put the reigns on copyright, perhaps all we need is to rediscover mutual respect!

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