Limiting or protecting, how is Copyright really used?
Copyright is a person’s right to protect his or her artistic work from being copied by other individuals, and prevents it from illegal distributions; this legal law was mostly done for digital media produces such as music, movies, videos, and more. The main point of copyright is to help artists produce more creative work since if somebody could easily take over your work, you wouldn’t have the motivation to continue producing more work. Yet, ever since January 1, 1978, a limited time was set for the copyright license which is up to 70 years from the day it is distributed, and after that others can benefit and use those works of art to create an even better product. To have copyright over a work of art the product should be proven to be original, though, facts and ideas cannot be protected with copyright (Packard, N.D)
Copyright changes the perception of society towards the title of originality although technology views copyright more of an obstacle than a way to guard a unique idea.
This legal right help prevent others from getting money from an artists work without permission, for example, if an artist releases a song and one person decides to download it illegally and sell it to get himself money, he wouldn’t be able to because of the copyrights; however, without the legal rights the artist will lose money and others will benefit same concept applies to movies, imageries, and any form of artistic works. Although this sounds as a worthy of a law it still has its disagreements and it is not easily available to everyone.
To have a copyright license, an artist needs to pay a fee that ranges up to 220$, according to the U.S. copyright government. For artist starting with an independent and small business every dollar counts which can be a bit expensive. In addition to that, as a Tv/ Film student, I find it to be challenging for a student to publish his or her projects because a student can’t really afford to buy every music he or she uses in their university work and if we can’t publish them then it would be hard to show our work. For example, whenever I do a project I usually try to publish it on YouTube or Facebook but one of my recent projects was taken down off Facebook because I used a popular song within the video. It is an artist’s right to stop a person from using their music to do an add without a legal permission because the sellers are making money out of it, but when it is for a purpose of just having fun or just doing a simple project this law can be hard to abide.
Moreover, with this law protecting all music even song remixes are measured to be illegal, this law although it safeguards original work it is limiting the creativity of the people who are trying to use those works to make even bigger work. This makes artists that are already with a big fan base to improve because they got a law that can empower them and money that could help them, and those individuals that are trying to start up to be stuck and stopped from their freedom of expression and creativity.
The main focus of the copyright law was to deliver financial incentives for artists to design groundbreaking creations; nevertheless, in order to defend every particular artistic work has become restricted even some works that are inspired by other artists. For example, according to the Guardian’s article “Pharrell claims Blurred Lines’ copyright lawsuit will stifle creativity” (2015), Pharrell stated ““This applies to fashion, music, design … anything. If we lose our freedom to be inspired, we’re going to look up one day and the entertainment industry, as we know it will be frozen in litigation. This is about protecting the intellectual rights of people who have ideas.” Which is completely true when creating a new work you can unconsciously be inspired by something you have heard earlier but that doesn’t mean you are copying their idea to get a hit single.
The copy right law is limiting more than it is helping even to big artists such as Pharelle because in that case every song released can be said to be copied from another older song since they have the same chords or similar beats. In that way, even if artists are benefiting to protect their work at the same time their work can end up in a lawsuit if it was inspired from someone else, and usually all works of art are inspired by other works that’s how creativity works. If upcoming artists cannot benefit from this because it is too expensive for them to afford license to use other songs in their work such as independent movies, and if also artists are getting sued for simple motivation from other works then whom is it really benefiting? The law should be made to be easy to follow by everyone, if it can become more suitable to all kinds of work then it would’ve been much better, for example larger industries to be taken differently than those people that are just trying to mix some music and do some projects.
P. (2015, March 20). Pharrell claims Blurred Lines’ copyright lawsuit will stifle creativity. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/music/2015/mar/20/pharrell-blurred-lines-copyright-lawsuit-stifle-creativity
Fees. (n.d.). Retrieved November 27, 2017, from https://www.copyright.gov/docs/fees.html
Packard, A. (2013). Intellectual property: copyright. Digital Media Law.(p.176)