In your own words — Copyright pros and cons

It is a common ideal that the media is growing at a rate so rapid, that it is ahead of the law. Social media outlets and online news blogs allow people to involve themselves in free speech, giving them the power to share information with the world. The ability to share this information can be thought to be educational and harmless, however with so many ways of connecting with one another, a lot of information circling the web has been copied, stolen or shared with the world without the consent of the original owner.

Facebook, instagram and google are among websites that hold billions of images, news articles, films and information that has been uploaded by its creator, and been copied by individuals, groups or even organisations, for notoriety and financial gain, and it can be be done so easily. Perhaps the greatest tensions between freedom of information and society could be the lack of knowledge on copyright laws but a profound ability to breach them. Globalisation plays a key role in copyrights vulnerability as illegal practices involving copyright stream online across the globe, where there are different laws and regulations. Copied items or two different works that are inextricably linked are a reoccurring offence that cannot be maintained, where serious consequences should be placed.

In 1971 singer George Harrison’s attorneys tried to prove out the difference between the two songs ‘My sweet lord’ and ‘He’s so fine’ when ‘The Chiftons’ sued him for copyright. A judgment was filed against Harrison in the amount of $587,000. If this occurs from two different pieces of work with profound similarities, what potential is there for several million members of society to make the same mistake?

Checks and balances on social networks are constantly put in place, but with so many different methods of copying and sharing information online, what laws can be made to prevent this? Lawyer Renee Hykel Cuddy explains how many social media outlets have a terms and conditions form that “include a statement certifying that the poster holds all intellectual property rights to the content that he or she is posting on the site.” Hykel Cuddy warns that users can be liable for infringement even if the original author has been given credit. copyright laws also hold social media sites accountable for they allow opportunity for users to copyright. This is an ongoing battle between global copyright laws and social media, and steps must be taken to acknowledge users better.


Hykel Cuddy, R, 2013,

“I’m a great believer that any tool that enhances communication has profound effects in terms of how people can learn from each other, and how they can achieve the kind of freedoms that they’re interested in.” — Bill Gates

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