Watching Professor Lessig’s TED session on copyright laws made me think of SOPA and the fiasco that it caused throughout the Internet. Lately, there seems to be a widely misconception regarding the very nature of copyright itself. The first thing that comes to mind upon hearing the term is, “someone owns it.”
That “it” could be an original work or an invention (patents) but we’ll just stick with the original work for now. And since that original work is already owned by someone, other people would have to ask for permission to use it, right? After all, to do otherwise would be stealing. And the worst case scenario with that would be people profiting from that stolen creation (piracy) and the person who came up with it would never receive credit nor money for that.
Some people feel that works produced by their ideas are public property while others feel that they belong to their original creators and thus, require protection from those who would be interested in stealing them, hence the concept of copyright. But lately, that term has been used interchangeably with “piracy.” The best proof? SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act). The act was meant to combat “piracy” on the Internet regarding copyrighted material, but what if people do not profit from sharing them? Does it still count as piracy? Or should there be a distinction between piracy and lack of credit where credit is due?
However, how can people determine what is protected by copyright laws when ideas tend to get recycled over time? Not only that, do copyright laws still apply if the idea is commonly used but someone adds their own flair or style to it, thus making it a creation that distinctly belongs to that person?