The Balance of Copyright Laws and Cultural Commons

Copyright laws have seemed to create a problem of an imbalance between producers and consumers in the online community. In order to establish a robust and freely accessible cultural commons would be to restore the imbalance that we face in today’s world. I feel like there is a big cycle that has caused this “producer-consumer” imbalance such that people misuse other’s work in a disrespectful way or try to take credit for something that is not theirs. This then causes the producers to enforce more copyright laws, making it harder for consumers to use anything without the worry of copyright rules. Because of this we are more likely to break the rules when we re-post, remix, or simply express ideas, and so the cycle continues. Shifts have been made in the technological infrastructure because of the imbalance and “the way in which those various transitions play themselves out will determine the balance of power within this new media era” (Jenkins, 2004). Hilderbrand explains that these copyright laws tend to lean in favor of the producer, creating more restrictions for the consumer (Hilderbrand, 2007). I completely agree with Hilderbrand in that it is hard to find anything these days that doesn’t have some type of copyright laws and I personally think some people have taken it too far.  There are definitely things out there that need to be copyrighted in order to preserve the original ideas but there also needs to be more respect for others work so there becomes less of a need to use these laws so frequently. People are mistaking commons, something that is free and does not need permission to use or take (Lessig, 2001), for commerce. In my opinion, I think the biggest thing here that needs to be fixed is the amount of respect for others and their work. Don’t take credit for something that isn’t yours and if you are re-creating, remixing, expressing ideas or discussing topics, be sure to mention were the originals came from. There is nothing wrong with creating something new from something old, but just remember that the something old has a creator and deserves some credit too.

Jenkins, H. (2004) The Cultural Logic of Media Convergence  International Journal of Cultural Studies March 2004 7: 33-43

Hilderbrand, L. (2007). Youtube: Where Cultural Memory and Copyright Converge. Film Quarterly. Vol. 61, No. 1,  48-57.

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4 thoughts on “The Balance of Copyright Laws and Cultural Commons

  1. I really enjoyed your post and highly agree. I do see the value in respecting others work but I also feel like in an ideal world we might someday only post to the internet things that are meant to be shared, reproduced, and remixed. When profits stop ruling our motivations we will produce better content. I think that profits should remain in the markets of physical goods and services.

  2. I believe explaining the problem by using the cycle illustration and explanation was dead on. I completely agree with you when saying that it’s because of the abuse by some people that all others have to suffer. There will always be a handful in the bunch that will ruin it for everyone else and then they wonder why it is so hard to create pieces or write about what they’re passionate about. They favor the producer when making the laws to make it extremely difficult for those abusing the system to continue doing so. People will create work and want respect but don’t respect others or the sources they used for its creation. Too many people just think of number one, that obviously being them self, while keeping money consistently on their mind.

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