Copyright, Infringement and Stupidity

To start off in my routine sort of way: while sitting in an Airbus A319 on the way to Vienna (yes folks, it’s another airplane post, typed on my iPhone and not an Android), I had remembered I had to start my ICT assignment. I have already finished the first part of it, as you can see in the previous post, but this next part is extremely time consuming and you will probably not see anything else on this blog but posts on copyright over these next 3 weeks. I would have liked to post about something else alongside copyright, but with 2 1200 word essays to type up, my fingers would never cope! I will however guarantee you that the next series of posts will be highly interesting, useful and educational. So let’s get started.
There are several ways to protect your ideas nowadays: Copyright, that ® logo (no idea what it means), trademark and patents. These each protect different things (copyright is protecting media and text, patents protect ideas and products and a trademark protects a logo, I think). You might want to look up the proper definition! So, what is their significance? If you make a song, you do not want people going around and claiming the song is theirs, right? If you have an idea that will change the industry, you will defiantly not want a rival copying it. This is what these laws aim to do.
There are 2 topics I want to talk about. Let’s start with the Internet Vs. Copyright. Now, You have probably seen all those parodies, like Obama ninja swatting a fly or other similar things. They all use copyrighted material. The copyright owners will either let it be OR, and this is what annoys me, force the creator to pay a cut of the income, of which there is none, or remove the content. I mean, they are not hurting anyone. I understand the point of view from the copyright owner (I was even in that position once with my old online radio station website. An acquaintance of mine copied text word for word onto their website), they do not want people copying their work, but if its online, then it becomes an OPEN media where the public can mix up, change and showcase their modified version of your work. It’s like taking inspiration. Is that not what the internet is? I would not have minded if the acquaintance had quoted where the text came from. The point I am trying to make here (granted, in a very disorganised fashion) is that copyright laws have to change with the Internet. When does it cease to be copying and start to be creative? I think that as long as you quote where the original content is from or who it is by, then it should be ok.
The stupidity bit comes in here. Let’s take a song, which has been uploaded to the artists official YouTube page. If I take the song, quote who it is by, and change the visuals a bit ( like the video where a Jesus character gets hit by a bus while singing “I will survive”) and upload it onto my own YouTube channel. If the artist or the record label demands I take it down due to the fact that I am making it free to listen to on the internet, (this has never happened to me by the way) I will call that stupidity. The original was available for free on YouTube already! I just took the song and made another outlet for it. A funnier outlet. As long as I do not call it the original version, there should be no problem.
Now, moving on from that badly written rant, let’s explore the 2nd topic: patents.
You have by now heard about the patent rows that are going on now. If not, here is an extremely quick synopsis:
Nokia and Cisco are suing Apple, Sharp, Samsung, LG, Toshiba and Hitachi; Apple and Qualcom are suing Nokia; Sony is suing George Holtz (more on that later); i4i is suing Microsoft; Apple will sue Amazon and HTC; RIM is suing Sharp and Motorola; Kodak is suing Sharp, Sony, Samsung and Lg.
And these are just disputes about mobile technologies!
Got it? Good. All these rows are pointless and Money wasters, when they could be investing it into making better products. The only reason why they do it is, not because they feel that the company is infringing the patent, they just want more money. If a company does infringe a patent, then the patent owner gets a cut of every product with that patented technology sold. So, for example, Nokia wants a cut of apple’s iPhone Market. I think this is a disgrace. I won’t rant on about my opinion, as it is pretty self explanatory and I still have more to write.
The final thing I want to talk about (topic 1.5) is Sony’s lawsuit with George Holz. This is not really copyright or patent infringement as such, but there are some elements to it which relate to it. I have already mentioned this topic in a previous post of mine, but let me repeat. George Holz is being sued by Sony for hacking his PS3 (considered the un-hackable console) to allow users to install their own software on the device and play home made games, by retrieving the master key for the console. The issue that Sony has with this, officially, is that this allows users to play pirated games, but I think that’s not the issue. They are power hungry, like Apple, but in a bad way. Apple at least allow The devices to be jailbroken.
My opinion is that if you own the console, you have the right to do whatever you want with the device. I spent my own money on it, I do not want to be told by sony or Apple what not to do with MY device. They can lock them down as much as they want in the factory but once it’s out in the hands of the public, they cannot do anything about it.
We are still awaiting the result of the lawsuit, but i will keep you updated about all things to do with copyright and patent infringement. 2011 will be an exiting year for the Internet Vs. copyright topic. Just wait and see. Just wait and see…
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