Thursday, March 21, 2013

Copyright and Fair Use legal standards should be changed to allow for more sampling and remixing of music, films, books, and other material.

Image from My Guitar Lessons
The debate club members debated copyright in front of the entire high school student body last week and the ideas provide all of us with food for thought. The pro side was arguing that  "Copyright and Fair Use legal standards should be changed to allow for more sampling and remixing of music, films, books, and other material." and the argument focused on three key areas.

  • Creativity and Innovation
  • Economics
  • Ethical Issues
Below are a few key points from each side.

  • "the slowness of change by the older generation.  They are comfortable with books and magazines that borrow from other books and magazine as long as they put quote marks around it and only a few thousand people read it.  Our generation is used to digital media that doesn’t have quote marks, and even if we do attribute where media we sample, we run the risk of fines and prosecution.  The laws of today regarding copyright and fair use need to catch up to the realities of the 21st century."
  • The Wall Street Journal said it best in 2008 when it wrote: “[remixing] could inspire a deeper, much more meaningful practice of learning for a generation that has no time to read a book, but spends scores of hours each week listening, or watching or creating, "media."
    … We need to restore a copyright law that leaves "amateur creativity" free from regulation… Digital technologies have democratized the ability to create and re-create the culture around us. Where the creativity is an amateur remix, the law should leave it alone.
  • "Don’t you see the benefit to students, artists, and others who could use digital media produced by others in their own work.  Bestselling history books can quote other history books, so why can’t amateur or professional musicians do the same?"
  • "Unfortunately my friends on the con side don’t see the harm of rigid copyright laws. For instance did you know that showing Martin Luther King’s “ I have a dream speech” without buying the 20$ DVD( expensive for public schools) is illegal?"
  • "Furthermore $58 billion isn’t lost to the US economy because of content theft. This claim is based on a study done by the motion picture association, but , “the Government Accountability Office released a report noting that these figures “cannot be substantiated or traced back to an underlying data source or methodology,”  basically “it’s these numbers are Bs”

  • " It isn’t up to the amateur remixer to decide if a work of music or film is theirs to use.  They do not own it, the original artist does."
  • "Creativity is here today, lots of people use digital media to remix.  Unless you are hoping that by changing the law a more people will be able to use the work of artists without permission..."
  • The losses to piracy are stunning.  According to US NEWS and World Report “$58 billion is annually lost by the U.S. economy due to content theft, including more than 373,000 lost American jobs."  Think of all the movies, songs, and other digital media that isn’t purchased and the harm that does to companies, investors, and especially to the artists themselves.
  • "Besides the money, I feel for the artist who works and works on their creative product and then because it can digitized and easily taken, they lose all control."
  • "Nicky you play guitar.  What if you write some music and I wanted to use some of it in one of may songs without your permission.  How would you feel about that?"
  • The German news organization Deutche Welle reported in 2010 that “three countries known for the vibrant music scenes and influential artists - Spain, France and Brazil - are suffering acutely, with local artist album sales and release volumes plummeting. In Brazil, full priced local album releases from the five largest music companies in 2008 were down 80 percent from their 2005 level
After the debate students were surveyed and here are the results. While some people may find problems with so many students supporting more relaxed copyright laws, this is our reality with teens today. Those who support changes have valid arguments based on today's digital world.

At Graded we rely on both Creative Commons and Fair Use guidelines.

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