Creative Copyright Conundrums

The RIAA successfully suing citizens for illegal song possession really opened the floodgates. Intellectual property matters are now routine topics in the workplace. Anyone not at least a little interested or opinionated may be a 21st Century Luddite. The average music lover swims in new waters today and is participating in The Great Copyright Debate, right now. One blog that parses copyright issues as well as anyone — Copycense. Pondering whether Creative Commons is good or bad for copyright, Copycense discusses intellectual property with an even hand.

I would recommend the read by jumping here.

Hopefully, you’ve made it back intact and your curiosity is raging. If that’s true, I’d suggest another trip over to Tech Dirt to read Michael Masnick’s thoughts. What I found even more interesting was the direction the comments took.

Go ahead, feed the flames here.

Welcome back. A thought I had centers around the intent of Thomas Jefferson and our founding fathers — fourteen years to hold the copyright on the expression of YOUR idea. Nothing more or less. If you want total control, keep it to yourself was an understood copyright condition in their minds. Exploiting your artistic expression opens the door to derivation and possibly new inspiration. These creative catalysts go beyond the actual creation itself and the author gets first crack at marketing the broader potential. After the initial fourteen years, a work would go public without worries of infringement.

I like limited duration in copyright. It allows for a collaborative artistic environment that recognizes the need for artists to survive on their creativity but also allows for the contamination to foster new creativity. Today, we have all but eliminated the public domain by extending copyright to life + 70 years. I suspected we’d get to 90 years by now but perhaps legislators lost their appetites?

The Digital Age has created a world that is far more nuanced and complicated than processed in the 18th Century by the great minds of that time. And with the genie out of the bottle, can we ever expect to settle back into a mindset wherein a content provider commands total control? It may be one thing to get a college student to concede that downloading without purchase or consent is illegal, but how does one’s art become monetized for delivery in a trans-formative experience?

Our copyright laws are outdated. Creative Commons has created a band-aid but has not found a solution. Media creators and consumers are simultaneously at odds and aligned in the debates on copyright matters. Meanwhile, the RIAA is crushing music lovers for doing what music lovers have always done — spreading the word.

To be continued…


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