What are people are saying about music copyright?

With any topics that affect people, there are usually a multitude of stances. Throughout my research on streaming and copyright, I’ve encountered both of these viewpoints. The most common viewpoints are either that we need a ton of government regulation and laws because people’s creations need to be protected from those who want to steal, or that there should be less copyright restrictions, which the the documentary RiP: A Remix Manifesto calls the “copyleft”. Other viewpoints fall within those two sides and incorporate varying degrees of each.

When going through and reading the comments of the article’s I’ve used, I noticed some trends — despite the occasional trolls. First of all, I noticed that the majority of people would agree with an article if there were less comments, and as the comments grew there was more opportunities for debate. For example, the documentary I mentioned earlier has a comments section on Vimeo and while there weren’t many comments, they all seemed to agree with what the film’s stance of utilizing Creative Commons more than the current American laws. I found that there were more debates on the articles that had more comments, which tended to be more current articles that mentioned particular lawsuits or cases related to copyright such as the “Blurred Lines”, Mickey Mouse, Taylor Swift, and Tidal. I found many of the comments on The New York Times to be well thought-out. An example is the Pharrell and Robin Thicke v Marvin Gaye case. I found comments on both sides of the spectrum, as well as some that were in-between. Here is a quote from that article by John that I found though-provoking:

I teach First Amendment courses and students seem to find it impossible to conceive of any rationale for copyright beyond that of property rights. That the rationale for copyright was clearly stated as fostering creativity to benefit society as a whole seems to them nonsensical or incomprehensible.
Copyright benefits and motivates creative people; (intellectual) property rights benefit and motivates estates.

John’s quote leans more towards the “copyleft” side of the debate, but he is obviously making his stance based upon personal experience and knowledge. I would have enjoyed hearing him talk more in depth about this issue because it seems to be something he applies on a day-to-day basis as a teacher. Many people who write comments online make broad generalizations and assumptions without looking deeper, so I find it great to see how this quote is able to back up its claims.

To show a different side of the spectrum here is a comment from the same article by user Larry Romberg:

The idea that this case or any other will have a “chilling effect” on Art is ridiculous. Yes, the artists who lay awake at night with $ signs in their eyes… dreaming of getting rich while saying nothing new… MAY decide to be little more creative… but artists nearly always stand on the shoulders of those who came before. Despite the bellyaching, this is a minor squabble about the Music BUSINESS… the idea that it is a “threat to Art” is silly… .

The wording of this comment is organized much more like a rant, but it still brings up some meaningful thoughts.

I found that reading all these comments has helped me to understand this topic more. Understanding the viewpoints of the community can show how much we can get better. The only way to impact and change the state of music copyright is if more people become educated about it.

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