Navigating the Digital Commons

This weeks lecture was all about navigating the digital commons. We were introduced to the topic of Copyright. Copyright gives the author exclusive rights to their own work for a limited amount of time. Anyone can copy your work, but you would have to be credited for it and compensated for its use.

It’s all about copyright

Derivative work is a part of copyright law, where the derivative work is a version of themona lisa original work, as it contains aspects from it. The transformation, modification or adaption of the original work must be very noticeable for it to also be protected by copyright law. For example, a book that has been adapted into film, or the example on the right of how the Mona Lisa has been modified. It is the most famous example of a derivative work and is often used in law books to demonstrate what exactly derivative work is.

fair useFair use is an exception to the exclusive right that is granted by copyright law to the author of a creative work.” Fair use allows limited use of copyrighted material, without you needing permission of the rights holders. It is allows you to use this material in things such as news reports or teaching. It allows you to benefit from the authors works without having to seek their permission. Public Domain refers to works that are no longer protected by copyright law as they have expired, been forfeited or are now inapplicable. They are publicly available and are considered public property. Shakespeare is an example of someone who’s work is now in the public domain.

Privacy versus freedom of expression can sometimes be hard to distinguish between. In this video below you can see this in action. A group of photographers go around London taking pictures on private and public property, to demonstrate how they can be effected by privacy versus freedom of expression.

Privacy is a human right just as freedom of expression is a human right. If you are taking pictures on public ground people can’t stop you as it is public territory. If you wish to use these pictures somewhere, you may need the persons permission to use them in your works. If you are taking pictures on private property, people can stop you as they may want their identity protected or for their own personal security.

Why is that copyright symbol the wrong way around?

copyleftCopyleft, which can be seen in the image to the right, uses copyright law to allow you to distribute copies and also modified versions of a work while requiring the same rights to those modified works. It allows creative works to be freely available for modification and all of those modified versions are freely available too. The author can give anyone who receives a copy of their work permission to adapt, modify or distribute it.

“The Digital Millennium Copyright Act is a United States copyright law that implements two 1996 treaties of the World Intellectual Property Organization.” This makes it illegal to break copyright protection. For example, if you download a song that has DRM, or digital rights management protection, you must adhere to that particular DRM. It makes any form of DRM-breaking tools illegal. It also holds you responsible for those illegal things instead of the tools you were using.

CSS or content-scrambling system is used by DVD publishers to encrypt the data copied to a disc so it cannot be burned to another disc, or to another persons laptop etc. It is used to prevent sharing of data freely. However, DeCSS is a program that is capable of decrypting this data so you can share it wherever you want. This DeCSS is illegal in many countries, to ensure you do not share the content illegally.

effThe Electronic Frontier Foundation is a non-profit digital rights group. It was founded in 1990 and fights for freedom in the courts by providing legal defense. They fight for the digital rights of consumers and also of the general public. You can read all about the work they have done here on their website.

Newsflash, Illegal downloading is still Illegal. Support the artists

In recent years, there has been an increase in illegal downloading and sharing of content. With the help of torrent sites, you can download any music you want freely, but also illegally. This has proved a real problem for authors of work, as they are not getting the compensation through this way of illegal downloading. The Free Music Archive tries to combat this by providing high quality, legal audio downloads for free. Each mp3 on the site has been pre-cleared for certain types of use. The rights holders determine the types of use. You may only upload content if you have been granted permission and this is usually on invitation basis only. There are many other websites that allow you to download things for free for certain use, for example Open Library, or the Internet Archive, which allows you to download books, movies and music for free legally.

Here is an interesting article on 5 famous copyright infringement stories and also what you can take from them. Definitely worth the read.

This is my second last post for this module. I will be posting my portfolio of pictures during the week. The topic which I have selected is Urban Culture. Be sure to stay tuned for this. Follow/like/comment on my blog. Thanks guys 🙂

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