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Copyright And The Internet Essay

1417 words - 6 pages

Copyright came about in the fifteenth century in Britain, sometime after the invention of the printing press by Johannes Gutenberg. “The printing press represented a supreme threat to the clergy’s monopoly on idea dissemination; moveable type was the fifteenth century version of Napster” (Copyright Website). Copyright laws were instated to protect authors of various intellectual properties, (literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, architectural) and give credit to the proper author. Over the years copyright laws have changed dramatically, because of the development of the internet. Before the internet in order to be caught plagiarizing someone would have to read through all sorts of literary works, to know exactly where the information came from. These days a person can just type what they are looking for into search engine sites like “Google” and fine exactly what they were looking for. With information accessed with such ease it makes it almost effortless to plagiarize (the act of stealing others ideas, and passing them off as your own), other peoples work without the author having any idea. "The Internet has been characterized as the largest threat to copyright since its inception. The Internet is awash in information, a lot of it with varying degrees of copyright protection. Copyrighted works on the Net include news stories, software, novels, screenplays, graphics, pictures, Usenet messages and even email. In fact, the frightening reality is that almost everything on the Net is protected by copyright law. That can pose problems for the hapless surfer” (Copyright Website). The electronic environment does not change the ways we consider ownership, it does however change the ways in which we use and distribute intellectual property.

When buying or using copyrighted material consumers should know that this does not give them the right to use the product in any way that they wish, this includes acts such as making copies or sometimes even showing the product in public to others. Like physical property intellectual property cannot be used without the owner’s permission. This means that the owner has say in how the consumer uses their work. This has become a problem with the development of the internet. It is now extremely easy to break copyright laws and illegally distribute intellectual property to millions of people around the world. The definition of intellectual property is still the same, but people do not think of works on the internet as intellectual property. Even though copyright laws are placed on everything user do not take the time to read the license agreement when downloading personal works from the internet, weather it would be books or music. People are not reading copyright laws which means, they do not know what the owners have and have not given them the right to do with their work. Some authors want you to use their work and sometimes even consider it to be a type of free advertising, others only want you to buy their work...

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