Week 6 – Copyrights

The internet has certainly made the idea of intellectual property a much more difficult one to control. Prior to the internet, piracy was done on a much smaller scale. Someone would make a mixtape for another person. Someone would burn a CD for another person. Sure, there were people that sold pirated materials, but it was mostly done simply to share. That idea has developed with the internet, and the exploded into a major facet of the entertainment industry. According to them, they lose billions of dollars of revenue (their projected loss of revenue is a very unreasonable number. http://boingboing.net/2012/03/15/copyright-math-the-best-ted-t.html). A lot of new issues come to the idea of copyright law with the internet.

Beyond it just being much more difficult to control, what exactly is copyright infringement? Clearly selling copies of someone else’s copyrighted material is unlawful. But what about simply sampling portions of other peoples’ work to make a much different work of art. This idea is discussed in the documentary, Good Copy, Bad Copy, while talking about the work of Girl Talk. He is an electronic musician who simply samples other people’s work and makes a track using electronically generated beats. He believes what he does is within the law, as he talks such minimal bits from other people. A comparison is made between the internet and public libraries. Information should be free flowing, and if it is the knowledge of everyone is enhanced. Books are copyrighted material, but libraries are not unlawful. They ask what the difference is, and I don’t see any huge differences other than capitalism being more prevalent in the entertainment industry.

6 thoughts on “Week 6 – Copyrights

  1. muzzeyme

    I think you make a great point. Just like everything else the internet as well changes. The internet made listening to music and getting music a lot more customer friendly, so to speak. I know for me it is always hard to justify spending $16 or something like that for a music album where I only like a few songs and I know I will only be listening to the CD for maybe a week and then it is overplayed therefore downloading something online seems to be justified more easy. One thing that did make sense to me and that I agree on came up in the documentary Good Copy Bad Copy and it was that people should deserve the credit for the work they have done and that is true but it should not be to the extent that nobody can use parts of it. There are only so many words and beats. Especially many artists have used different beats and either they paid for it and nobody cares if they use it. If people do not want their art to be out in public than they have to stop doing it because whether it is on the internet or not somebody’s art will always be stolen or used without the permission of the owner.

  2. staalrya

    Your ending sentence was absolutely fantastic. It honestly summed up the entire problem with the music industry today, and the class-required video we viewed for this assignment. Capitalism entering the music industry is honestly what is killing it. But more specifically, an unwilling-to-change industry is what is killing it. Big music companies want to control the profits and revenues and distribute accordingly. They do not want any other interferences and anyone ‘skimming off the top’ of their revenues.
    More importantly, I think this documentary does exactly what you say. It tries to define and point out the differences in what copyright infringement really is. In my eyes, sampling someone elses music and giving them credit for it while selling something ‘new’ that was original work created by a different person is not a copyright infringement lawsuit. Some of the world’s best art is made up of collages of other peoples work, the famous saying “everything has been done before, and nothing is original” truly applies to this conversation. We are in a world of recreation and refinement, just turn on your radio and listen to the music; what Bach, Mozart and other great composers wrote some 300 years ago is playing through this little music box in our cars and computers. The music industry just wants to keep their dollars, but is not willing to change their business model to accommodate the change in technology.

  3. currie30

    I truly feel as this copyright word today is overused. I feel as we are giving people top dollar for an album to either like it or hate it. When other artist use a beat they are sued for it. You should feel happy enough to think someone like your beat enough to want to make a song using it. I feel its nothing wrong with reusing something as long as you ask for permission.

    People take this term and try to brand everything. In reality it was never theirs. This makes it hard for everyone because pretty soon everything is going be against the law. I feel this is a way to keep money in the music world.

    The music world is changing today and a lot of music is garbage why pay top dollar for it. What is wrong with someone taking a 30 second beat of yours and added some different beats to it and making their own song (it will probably be better than yours)? This is a way that the music industry is using to keep money in their pockets.

  4. Kailei

    I must say, I have to agree with what you brought up n this response to the articles as well as the documentary. The simple idea of what is yours versus someone else’s is baffling- how can a clip of sound belong to someone, and more so, how do we keep that in tact? I think you did a really good job of explaining how hard this is, and of what an interesting topic it has become. I, for one, am a big fan of Girl Talk. The documentary was quite interesting in going over the perils of what Girl Talk was doing, but personally, I think that part of the success that is Girl Talk is the simple fact that people were talking about the music itself, and of how bug of a controversy it truly was. Piracy is a big problem, but sometimes, I believe we must go past this, for if we don’t, we lose a lot of the creativity that we may have been able to gain.

  5. holteric

    This is a difficult topic for me as I understand both sides, but would like to view this from the perspective of the actual artist. What I noticed during the documentary, response, and comments is that the artist is rarely mentioned and that the most issues regarding the copyright infringement comes from the executives and CEO’s versus the artist themselves. Why is this? Because the artist barely makes money from the song/album anyway.

    Artists make money from appearances and tours and therefore would probably care more if someone pirated their concert dvd or sold bootleg tickets versus someone sampling their song. Most of the artist are using each other’s stuff anyway, so this is truly a matter of capitalist goals and gains rather than a troubled conscience.

    Overall, I believe that copyright laws will have to adjust. And not just adjust as technology advances, but also adjust based on content. A law that governs books may not be a law that can properly govern movies or music and vice versa, but there is definitely a need for change and quick.

  6. neuroth2

    I like the comparison to the libraries showing the difference between books and music. Although most people aren’t going into a library and copying the books down into their notebooks than selling them. People typing up books and selling them online is actually a huge problem. Not that I’m a fan but the writer of the Twilight series actually got so frustrated with people posting her private work online she decided to be done with writing novels. While people like the artist of girl talk appear to be doing nothing wrong, I actually think it could be hurting some artists who want to sell their music and sounds exclusively. Overall I really liked the way in which you summarized the article and felt like you did a good job representing both sides. Obviously the idea of the web can be a touchy subject because it is so controversial. Its also interesting to see people comment on both sides of the argument.
    -Andrew

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