Copyright vs. the Right to Copy
Today's digital technology and the computer have changed how the average consumer can acquire information and entertainment. No longer do we have to wait for the CD to hear a new song, or the release date to watch a movie. The technology is available on our home computers. But is this an infringement on copyright? What about the rights of artists, authors, producers, or actors? Has our technology progressed so far that it infringes on these peoples' livings? It is only a matter of time before laws are passed regarding Internet use. Are we ready to give up the freedom we have had up to this point? In her essay "The Digital Rights War", Pamela Samuelson states that " The new future of technically protected information is so far from the ordinary person's experience that few of us have any clue about what is at stake". (Samuelson 316)
With today's technology consumers can download almost anything from their computer and copy it onto a CD Rom or to an MP3 player. Pirated copies of songs from CDs that are not yet released or movies that are still in the theaters are put on the Internet available for anyone to use or copy. These are extreme examples of the problem at hand. What lengths do we need to go to in protecting artists' rights? Pirating is nothing new. When I was in high school bootleg copies of concerts were available to buy on cassette. There will always be some people that don't follow the law, and even if we tighten up current copyrighting laws those people will find a way around them.
The average consumer may download songs or articles from the Internet, but they do not distribute them or reproduce them. If they do reproduce them it is usually for personal use. The MP3 player that I mentioned before is a device that is designed specifically for recording music off the Internet. (Mp3 is the most popular format for downloading music). The Mp3 player is digital and will hold a certain number of songs on a chip inside it. When the chip is full you can buy a new one or record over the old one. Sony just came out with a product called "The Memory Stick" this year. They plan to use it with their MP3 players as well as digital cameras, and other products in the future. It is a memory chip that is compatible between the products, so you only need one format of memory if you use their products. The CD Rom and CD Rom-rewritable are also popular products. These hook up to your computer and allow you to copy files or anything you want off your computer.
According to Pamela Samuelson the possibility exists that all this could soon change. In her essay, she refers to a "white paper" that was issued by the Clinton administration in 1995. I did some further research on this white paper and found a summary on line. It is actually a report on Intellectual Property rights written by the Information Infrastructure Task Force. Basically there is a committee appointed by the White House that is looking into fairly...