Sunday, May 8, 2011

Fight for Your (copy)Right?

There's no doubt that new technologies bring new opportunities - some good, some not so good.  When it comes to how to manage laws like copyright in the world of digital content, it seemed to get a whole lot more complicated.  As a good digital citizen, I want to make sure people get credit for their creations and, when appropriate, I feel that I should pay for the media I use.  Amazon and iTunes have made it easier for people to be law abiding in terms of music, movie and other digital downloads but there is still a lot of hubbub about those who download media content for free or share with friends.  At the same time, digital rights management can get in the way of my using my media in the ways that are meaningful to me - and limit how I can use what I've purchased or rented.  There are always work-arounds, but I don't have that kind of time or patience.  HBO's move to allow subscribers to get to their shows on e-devices is a move in the right direction - especially as I was considering canceling my service.  Ultimately, media giants are going to have to reach a balance between pay per view and keeping a viable customer base - because at some point, it will be worth my time and money to cancel my cable and find other ways to watch the one or two series on each premium cable channel I'm interested in...

The Creative Commons movement is a great one, allowing artists and authors to share their works and decide how their content can be viewed, remixed and republished. Creative commons licenses are more flexible than traditional copyright and seem to be a better fit with the digital age.  In reading today, however, I came across an article about copyright for bloggers.  Considering I have all of two followers on my blog, you would think I would be thrilled to have anyone read a post I have written.  I'm not trying to make a living at this, though...and traditional copyright (and common courtesy) tells me that I should link to others' content and give credit for others' work. Content scrapers or autoblogging tools lift sections or whole posts from blog sites and pull them together into other pages via RSS.  This is an illegal practice.  Sure, it brings more readers, but works around the fact that if you produced the content, it shouldn't be able to be reproduced someplace else without your knowledge.  As copyright becomes muddier with the introduction and use of new tech, where should the new lines be drawn? As a teacher, I am all about the sharing - but at some point, I want to be giving back to the community - to people, not random blog sucking apps.  In light of this point, I want to thank @coolcatteacher (Vicky Davis) who passes along great stuff on Twitter that makes me think.

And another GREAT article on copyright and comic books - Will iPad Be the Hero or the Villain of the Comic Book Industry?  Michael Grothaus does a great job of explaining how cost and availability to legit downloads affects whether people "do the right thing".

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