Friday, May 4, 2012

Week 1: Reading Entry

I thought I knew a little something about Copyright until I went through the lessons on Copyright. I then found I knew little about copyright and learn the something. I had seen the “What the Heck is Copyright” before and had a good understanding of its application or so I thought. I had assumed that copyright was there to protect the copyright owner from having his or her intellectual property stolen from them by denial of proceeds due them. In fact as Peter Jaszi says, Copyright exist for one purpose: “to promote the progress of science and useful arts”.  He further goes on to say, which makes perfect sense, that Art doesn’t come from nowhere. Cultural progress depends on the ability of artists to make reasonable use of preexisting material and that includes copyrighted material”. How obvious is that! It reminds me of another saying, “There is nothing new under the sun”.

As I see it, a study of music genres, reveals various genres merging with others from different time periods to create a “new” genre, only to have to revert to another at another time period. Its as though in order to avoid copyright infringement a “mix” of genres are created to create something so called “original”. Adding a sesame seed bun, special sauce, a different type of lettuce, and cooked another way than fried does change what it is…it’s still a burger. But without the original you can’t have the modifications that some people may want.

Even though Mr. Jaszi’s point is well taken, I can’t help but feel that we here in the United States make such a big thing over copyright to protect our money and not the art. Other countries as “Copyright issues, part 1 stresses seem to consider the arts more than the profit made. I believe in one scene a young music producer said that musicians were more interested in getting their popularity up by having their music mixed and played at parties and clubs so they could perform in concerts and make real money.

I now see that copyright does in fact support and protect the Arts (in legal terms) by allowing the use of “somebody else’s copyrighted music, pictures or words without paying or asking permission as long as it benefits society more than it hurts the copyright holder.”

Cartoon obtained from:


  1. I too thought I knew a little something about copyright. It never occurred to me that copyright was there to actually support the arts. I think that this is because the emphasis has always been on the money and not the arts. The United States is too concerned about money. If the money could be left out of the picture, our arts could really grow, spread, and maybe even create something new in the process. Thanks for sharing your thoughts about copyright!

  2. Bill,

    I agree with you that in the US we push too hard towards the making money aspect of copyright and start to lose sight of the protecting the art part. I saw this more clearly in the Good Copy Bad Copy movie when they were interviewing the filmmaker in Nigeria. I found his ideas about releasing straight to DVD instead of waiting and having pirate copies released first so opposite of how the industry handles the situation here in the US. His reasoning made perfect sense and in the end I think would make the movie companies more money (besides adding competition to the whole costs an arm and a leg movie theater experience).

  3. great interaction with the topic... it is complicated. It can be difficult to balance the cultural value of having artists be able to re-imagine elements of our cultural heritage and the need to artists to be able to support themselves with their art. Too often, it does seem that the art is lost and the focus is on cashing in on the one big hit.