Admit it, you’ve all copied something, whether it was right, wrong or maybe down right criminal. However our exposure to the World Wide Web has led us to suddenly hit ‘copyright’ in a head on collision. The obscure nature of the ‘act’ is the real reason why, we, as online users, are unaware of the seriousness of our offence. The implications of the issue on social media platforms cover anything from reblogging of photographs, posting videos and covering songs.
The only reason we get away with it, is that the ‘copyright’ issue is just too large to patrol. Emerging social networking sites such as Pinterest, Tumblr and Flicker further emphasise concerns over the control of genuine work on online media sites. These sites allow members to freely re-post user content, thus breaching copyright laws. Users original artwork posted online can be re-blogged, tweeted, shared, saved, printed and illegally hung as artwork on a household wall, with no recognition of the original owner. ‘Unfair’ you are thinking and this is what copyright is intended to control!
Interestingly enough, our online offences can be traced back to when we were in primary school conducting research assignments, which usually involved a quick ‘Google search’ on our intended topic and a copy and paste onto a word document. This ironically infringed on copyright law as we were being somewhat encouraged into the infringement by our educators.
An example of a breach of copyright is Time Warners ownership of the ‘Happy Birthday’ song. Now you’re thinking, what, surely this is a mistake? But no, Time Warner is able to sue anyone who actively participates in the singing of the most well know song in the English-speaking world. The $25 million purchase in 1989 now brings in $2 million in loyalties annually.
This exemplifies the stupidity and the extremities of a law which is designed to protect original ownership of creative work and intellectual property, but is proving ineffective for the online generation.