Wednesday, November 30, 2011

CopyRight and Politcs - Blog # 5

The average citizen being prosecuted for copyrighting?  The hard working artist loosing money from pirating of their work? Can government policies really help?

Expanding my weekly blog posts #4 and 5 on this topic.

Part 2

Just what exactly is a copyright, and how does it fit into democratic societies' doctrines? An individual's intellectual property and work is for the most part subject to copyright. You cannot plagiarize others' writing, steal their music, or copy their artwork--for profits. After all, it is the American dream to work hard and be happy; enjoying your liberties as long as they do not harm the liberties of others.

Copyright Philosophizing

But how much of this work can be measured and how would it infringe liberties? Mika LaVaque-Manty an Associate Professor of Political Science and Philosophy at the University of Michigan tackles this question by speculating on the opinions from "The Father of Liberalism" Himself, John Locke. Any undergrad taking the core requirement of a political science course (such myself) knows John Locke's philosophies on Human Rights and government interventions. Our noble nation of America was founded on these theories.


LaVague-Manty ponders on how Locke's philosophy about people having rights over their hard labor--and being compensated for violations of that labor--fit with the internet and copyrights. As an American this is most intriguing. To specify Copyrights, Simon Whaley details how, as soon as you write something or create an artwork, it is yours and copyrighted to do as you please. He points out how confusing this can get.

 Copyrighting Organizations

Creative Commons preaches on how they build a network of instructors and students to share and edit learning materials and copyright them, Open Education Resources, (OER) as it were. Along with CK-12 and other organizations, they have indeed limit the cost of Textbooks to schools Kinder through 12 grade, and made extraordinary use of the internet.

Aside from that positivity, Creative Commons is not all that wonderful. One most develop opinions through research. For serious writers meaning to profit from their creative work, Creative Commons is a back fire. Tony Lawrence (PCUnix) warns us how CC jeopardizes our--in accordance with Simon Whaley--already copyrighted work.

He explains how sticking Creative Commons into your copyrighted-for profit-work, you are telling the whole world it is OK to "Copy and Remix" your original work.
Proceed with Caution.

 Laws Hampering Creativity

The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) is a bill that pushes laws to punish those profiting from pirating others' work and copyrighted material, thus ending piracy. They preach:
"To promote prosperity, creativity, entrepreneurship, and innovation by combating the theft of U.S. property, and for other purposes." —H.R. 3261
Basically, they are protecting the work of the big companies such as Disney, Universal, and 21st Century fox, along with the big record label companies, from being exploited by foreign nations hosting Bit Torrent servers, which ironically get downloaded by us Americans.

For these big companies, it works quite well. They get to keep all the profit they make from selling their artists work. But do SOPA laws really promote creativity and innovation into entrepreneurship?
Let's refer back to LaVague-Manty's speculation on human philosophies. Thinking outside the box on Politics: There are certain levels of rights an individual is entitled to.

We The People...Die For Freedom.
Starting at the basic level, there are Human Rights under UN charter. Next comes some idealistic American rights to liberty, which Americans continue to value and fight for. What comes after that? Should the Government guarantee their citizens Employment? Guaranteed Medical benefits? Guarantee most amenities that require hard work and planning?

The answers to those questions can be answered by the Billionaire who limits his decedents their inheritance, down to the bare necessities, rather than having them born into riches, thus spoiling their would-be accomplishments. This is because, by human nature, if we are given everything, we do not develop our talents or work our minds into their fullest potential; since there is no immediate need. After all, "Necessity is the Mother of Invention."


So if we develop our best through immediate motivation, does a copyright on intangible goods we create really helps us grow? The most intriguing article I have read that my professor has provided me in this Cyberspace in Society class, has got to be David Bradly's "What's wrong with copyright" article. He definitely presents empirical evidence from outside the box.

His writing should really be read and considered. He begins stating that it's well-known that the big labels have made a lot of money and hardly compensating their artist, in the past. After criticizing the music charts, he expands on Denis Borges Barbosa's critique of the state of copyright in the world of music. The Brazilian musician looks back at the 18th century publishing of music. He accounts Mozart's, Vivaldi's, Telemann's, and their contemporaries' numerous master pieces.

Back then, there were not such copyright laws guaranteeing the artists patent sales of their work. Therefore, the artists kept motivated and inspired to continue working hard and creating their best, while their previous work was being recomposed by others. In theory, these others did not possess the talent, and would never produce at the level of the original composer. Ergo; The brilliant composers would continue publishing and staying on top. The genius of all these composers can surely be heard and felt through their gorgeous master pieces. 

Samuel Barber, contemporary genius
Artists post-twentieth century have had copyright laws guaranteeing them sole benefits from their creations. Barbosa points out how this is what has limited contemporary artists' work. Three Symphonies and two operas will suffice the successful career of a modern composer; juxtaposed to the hundreds  and thousands of concertos and symphonies from the enlightenment period. Copyright laws have certainly hampered our current artists full potential, and cheated human culture out of possible masterpieces.

If Samuel Barber made such a remarkable classic as "Adagio for Strings," why isn't his other work as potent and famous? It's as if Mozart would only have his 40th symphony, no 21st, 25th, Eine kleine Nachtmusik, Rondo Alla Turca, and certainly no Requiem.
Only aficionados would know the rest of Samuel Barber's work. It's this Copyrighting that, in theory according to Barbosa, has hindered contemporary artists from becoming workaholics of what they enjoy and are good at.

Governing humans has never been an easy task, and the internet certainly doesn't help. However, it is a tool that helps us grow to our potential--if used properly. If an artist's work is truly great, why would there be a need for a record company and copyrighting? Surely money; However, how much is humanity loosing to greed?

Final Questions Regarding Copyright and Politics:

1. When is a person's work subject to copyright?
a) After signing in with a record deal
b) After petitioning for a patent
c) As soon as the work is created.
d) After the FBI confirms it is an original work.
Answer: C

2. What does Creative Commons do?
a) Copy other peoples work and makes it available to the common public
b) Pays people for copyrights to their work to distribute it for everyone in the Internet
c) By individuals' consent, builds a network of shared work in the internet which others can use and edit as long as is not for commercial profit
d) Allows people to copy others' work as long as it's for commercial profit in the internet.
Answer: C

No comments:

Post a Comment

Final Blog Post.

Final blog post assignment: "Choose two or more articles from the four Scoop It channels . I’ve set up that are related to a simila...