Copyright…Sigh

In the Open Access Now article, Lawrence Lessig is quoted as saying, “My view is that the law has, for unintended and intended reasons, radically changed the burden on creators and producers of knowledge who wish to share and make their work available to a larger public.”  After reading all about copyright, I can’t help but agree with Lessig’s choice of the word “burden.”  Copyright appears to be so unnecessarily complex, and my current understanding is that copyright laws seem to be enforced very sporadically.  While I understand that it is close to impossible to go after all violations, this lack of uniform enforcement seems to make the copyright laws even more difficult.  And it just seems flat out unfair that, with the increased ability for all sorts of people to be able to be “creators and producers of knowledge,” everyone be expected to know all of the convoluted ins and outs of copyright.

I found the videos from the Moving Image Contest to be particularly interesting.  These short films really demonstrated the challenges of working with, and around, the copyright laws.  The most compelling one to me was “An Army, One by One,” which not only helped to explain some of the challenges that copyright poses for documentarians, but also how today’s culture has drastically changed in terms of corporate goods and logos present in our everyday lives.  I also liked the short film “Intellectual Property Law and Supersize Me,” which in turn demonstrated how these laws can be manipulated, and how the documentarian can avoid trouble.

Up until this point, I had felt fairly silly asking each one of my interviewees to sign multiple release forms for my project.  Now I feel as though you just can’t be too careful in getting permission…and very grateful that I interviewed them in places that provided very basic backgrounds with no need to edit out the corporate logos.

Category: W13: Copyright
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One Response
  1. jgiampa says:

    I agree it is daunting. When i tried to write a paper several years ago on some classroom research, I could not include one student because she would not sign a release. How silly, I thought. Her name wasn’t going to be published. We are a paranoid society for all the wrong reasons.