1. Summarise the main points from the reading and the talk by Lawrence Lessig.
M/C Journal, Vol. 11, No. 6 (2008) – ‘recover’
Recovering Fair Use, Steve Collins
Copyright law has become the hot topic of conversation due to the ever changing landscape of the internet and the sites that distribute content across the world. In this reading, I learned that even though the term Prosumerism is not new, it has taken new significance lately because the very act of creating using other people’s ideas (new or old) is what defines this generation according to Lessing,2007.
Using YouTube as an example, who use the term “Broadcast Yourself”, the video sharing web site allows for a democratised media process, in other words, a more equal footing, and give people the the tools to put their message across. However, big media corporations have in the past “actively defended their intellectual property through law suits, take down notices and technological reinforcements.” (Collins, 2008).
So, even though YouTube users might not be earning any money from the use of copyrighted material, many of the big media companies are suing, and winning, setting precedents which Collins calls “absurd”. He proceeds to explain that Fair use was put in place to “prevent oppressive monopolies” but has become almost Blackstonian in it’s approach. He believes that with fair use, “balance can be restored.” The court system agrees that copyright was “intended to promote creativity” and any misconceptions about copyright laws must be cleared. In doing so, new creators would benefit and indeed balance can be achieved. (Collins, 2008).
Lawrence Lessig on “laws that strangle creativity”2007
I enjoyed Lessing’s talk on “Laws that choke creativity” and found it an interesting watch. He starts of with three concepts of “user generated content” which includes culture as a read-write culture (participatory) or a read only culture (we are just consumers); Land or property that is protected by law and broadcasting technology, the terror of the content industry.
The way he puts his point across is clever. First, Lessing informs us that we began as a read-write culture by being able to tell our stories, or sing our songs from today and yesterday, but slowly began to loose the freedom of expression to big corporations. For example, phonograph giant Victor who monopolised the recording of sound from 1901 to 1929. Secondly, property laws were devised to protect citizen from trespassers, but these laws needed to be updated to suit the times. His example of planes needing clearance every time they flew over different portions of land makes it clear that these laws although useful long ago where indeed vague and antique. Thirdly, the ASCAP vs BMI case where a David and Goliath battle seem to develop in the early 1940’s, it was the unprecedented shift of customers to a lesser quality public domain provided by BMI that proved competition and a more democratic view for broadcasting, was the way to go.
“In my view the most significant thing to recognise about what this internet is doing is its opportunity to revive the read-write culture that Sausa romantised. Digital technology is the opportunity for the revival of these vocal cords that he spoke so passionately to Congress about.” (Lessing, 2007).
Lessing claims that spreading user generated content in business today is invaluable, because people do it for the love of it, not for the money. When people stop being just consumers and just producers and start using something new and something old they make something interesting.
He is quick to point out that he is not endorsing piracy, instead he talks “about people taking and creating, using other people’s content, using digital technologies to say things differently.” (Lessing, 2007).
Pointing out that kids today are more technology-minded, Lessing says that this sort of creativity are the new tools that have been embraced. However, these tools come with the taboo of being illegal and the here is where the trespassing plane law comes in. Yet another example of a Blackstonian approach (as per Steve Collins journal entry, 2008). But with the idea represented by BMI, that with competition, balance can be achieved.
Lessing proposes two changes that can bring balance about and those are Artists/creators more open to fair use and for organisations to help build the read-write culture which will enable “free content or freer content [to] grow on a neutral platform, where they both exist simultaneously, so that more free can compete with less free and the opportunity to develop the creativity in that competition can teach the lessons of the other.” (Lessing, 2007).
It is imperative to allow people today more freedom of expression through work that they have made mixing the old with the new. To remove the knowledge that what they are making could constitute as copyright infringement. These laws should be rejuvenated.
2. Identify any problems about copyright that you are likely to encounter in your remediation assignment. Assume the text that you will remediate is the text you chose as a favourite in your first entry.
As I have chosen to do a montage of photos of Colin Firth’s Mr Darcy from both the BBC Wordwide’s Pride and Prejudice and Bridget Jones’s Diary from Universal Studios, I searched many websites to obtain said photos, many of these websites did not have reference or point of origin, however some photos were subject to copyright. So far however, I haven’t had any problem with the visual.
However, music, I can confirm is another matter all together! I decided to go through the uploading process to see what it entails using YouTube. Upon uploading my ‘fanvid’ I received an email from YouTube informing me that I might have issues. Because I am using the song ‘I Found Love’ by C + C Music Factory, Sony 1995, my video clip cannot be shown in some countries (currently Germany). And so it cannot be seen on my blog, it must be seen on the YouTube website. I am advised to check regularly to see if this has changed but other than that I am told to do nothing, thank goodness. Below is a copy of the email and what appears after I click on the link ‘the Content ID Matches section of your account’.
Your video, MED104 Engaging Media Remediation Project, may have content that is owned or licensed by Sony Music Entertainment.
No action is required on your part; however, if you are interested in learning how this affects your video, please visit the Content ID Matches section of your account for more information.
– The YouTube Team”
Your video, MED104 Engaging Media Remediation Project , may include content that is owned or administered by these entities:
- Entity: Sony Music Entertainment Content Type: Sound Recording
As a result, your video is blocked in these locations:Germany
What should I do?
No action is required on your part. Your video is still available everywhere not listed above. In some cases ads may appear next to your video.
What can I do about my video’s status?
Please note that the video’s status can change, if the policies chosen by the content owners change. You may want to check back periodically to see if you have new options available to you.
Under certain circumstances, you may dispute this copyright claim. These are:
- if the content is mistakenly identified and is actually completely your original creation;
- if you believe your use does not infringe copyright (e.g. it is fair use under US law);
- if you are actually licensed by the owner to use this content.
I need more information. I want to learn more about the dispute process.
Please take a few minutes to visit our Help Center section on Policy and Copyright Guidelines, where you can learn more about copyright law and our Content Identification Service.
I then took the copyright tutorial on the YouTube website and found it to be well written and comprehensive enough for me, explaining what copyright means, infringement and creative commons licensing. They also listed several links should I want to investigate further such as Fair Use Project Stanford Center for Internet and Society. Very interesting reading!