A copyright is a concept used to refer to laws that are used to protect authors of original work of authorship. This protection is offered to works like drama, music, movies, literature, and other forms of creative works. It is true that copyright laws do more harm than it does any good. The laws that govern the internet cannot keep up with constantly developing technology. Most of the copyrighted works can be accessed through the internet today and it proves difficult to follow the laws that govern it since there some cases of automatic copies that are made to the computer. There are several reasons to support this thesis and explained it below.
The first reason dwells on the point that all human works and creativity to some extent termed as being derivative since new creations are inspired by some other creations of others done earlier and also being exposed to stimuli. What drives the culture today is derivative works. What the copyright implies is that creativity that is legitimate is a hundred percent unique, but what we know from all materials we are exposed it is false.
In addition, the current copyright laws do harm as compared to the past decades where copyright was aimed at monetary gain for the person who created the material for a period of time, and then the creative work was to be passed to the public. Passing creative works for public use has been done away with and most of the works would have by now passed to the public domain. When creative works are remain or kept under copyright, derivative works are reduced and there is less enrichment in the heritage of the shared culture.
Finally, there are situations in life that have been made more difficult than it was before. Since the invention of the internet, people try to copyright everything from the names of the food they come up with to the names of pets they own. It makes it impossible to do anything without the fear of infringing copyright laws. With so many things copyrighted, it is difficult for the lesser man to come with anything that has not already been protected by copyright laws. Though copyright laws are supposed to help us keep our ideas and our own creations from being stolen and owned by other people, the harm it does when every creativity made by people is copyrighted is more than the good it does in protecting those ideas. There should be a limit to these laws to allow for other creative works.
Education materials that are found on the internet that could be accessed as teaching aids or for applications in doing research are governed by these copyright laws. Though there are ways that these materials could be used like in fair use, these laws hinder many from acquiring knowledge that could be used in derivative works. Fair use that applies to printed materials and media also applies to the Internet but there is an exception to posting materials on the internet. There are exclusive rights that copyright holders have when posting anything on the Web. This unnecessarily locks up parts of cultural heritage and thus hinders progress and opportunities for other creative works and self-expressions.
The protection offered to copyright holders in many countries lasts too long. The copyright laws last about 70 years now in the United States which is more compared to the past decades which lasted a term of 28 years. This current term of copyright laws protection is longer and this proves difficult in providing appropriate stimuli that is necessary for other creative works and protecting other legitimate works. An example in this argument is seen when a person wishes to put some of the copyrighted works into good use like reprinting a novel that is no longer printed. The person who wishes to do this may face many difficulties especially if the work was done many years ago. First, the owner of the copyright has to be located and then obtain permission from the owner. In today’s world creativity is gotten through modification or incorporation of previous works. So getting the original owner is quite difficult.
Copyrights that govern file sharing such as movies and music are different in various countries. Since file sharing mostly occur through the internet, there are laws against downloading and uploading music, movies, and software. Any infringement of these copyright laws leads to being sued by the RIAA or MPAA. This lawsuit may cost a person thousands of dollars, or charges of criminal violations, or prison time. Also, copyright laws give video and audio recordings creators give little protection. The legal system governing these creators has failed to prevent the spread of these works in the peer-to-peer platform of file sharing. Clearly, a different strategy to protect these creators from such exposure should be used.
In conclusion, copyright laws should be changed to suit the challenges and conditions of the coming years. The obstacles that we face now are not easy to overcome unless we have new copyright laws that will deal with the obstacles directly.
Geist, M., (2012). What the new copyright law means for you. The Star Business, Technology. Retrieved From http://www.thestar.com/business/2012/11/10/what_the_new_copyright_law_means_for_you_geist.html
Standler, R., B., (2004). Some Observations on Copyright Law. Retrieved From www.rbs2.com/copyr.htm
Gibson, N., (2014). Internet laws do more harm than good. The National Business Review, Editors Insight. Retrieved from http://www.nbr.co.nz/opinion/internet-laws-do-more-harm-good