How Are The Copyright Holders And Laws Regarding Copyright Affected In Digital Era?

1371 words - 6 pages


Few centuries ago, during the rise of the printer era, many European countries developed concepts for controlling who has a right to print a copy of a text. These laws were the first occurrences of a law protecting intellectual property. For some time, laws born out of those original laws were mostly enough for protecting the rights of the authors. But, things have rapidly changed in the 21st century, with the rise of digital reproduction technology, personal computers, and the Internet.
Consider a mid-20th century US musician. He would produce his music in a studio and sign a contract with one of the big music publishers. The company would then release a single on a gramophone record, ...view middle of the document...

With the rise of the Internet, the whole idea of physically distributing the music was to be forgotten, as people were able to simply share the digital data that is music over the Internet.
Similarities can be found in the software industry, with the only difference being that the software was always purely digital, and there was never an effective way of protecting the software makers’ intellectual property rights. Other industries facing the similar issues are book publishers, Hollywood, and soon industrial designers.
How could this problem be effectively solved? Entertainment industry has experimented with different anti-copy features being included on the media. Most of those protections were broken in a few years. Software industry tried with different forms of software and hardware protections – ranging from serial keys that are still used, but in many cases easily reverse engineered, to special processor chips that were for example used in PlayStation, for which again, a replacement solution was invented. Movie industry today offers experiences that cannot be copied. Watching movie in a cinema still offers a premium experience – big screen, superior audio quality, sometimes extra features like 3D or interactive experiences like physical effects. Music industry has live concerts which are their biggest source of revenue. Software industry started experimenting with cloud software – where the actual software is run and maintained on the company’s servers – so-called “cloud”, and the clients (users) connect to the online user interface to interact with the software but without any means of actually accessing the software files or the machines that the software is run on.
A big question arises from the aforementioned issues – why do the industries try to fight for preservation of copyright and is that greedy, or the users who are copying music, software, and movies are immoral and the industries have every right to preserve their intellectual property? Some argue that copying is the same as physical theft. But there is one big difference between physical theft and piracy. When something is physically stolen it is not available to the original owner anymore. When something is pirated the original is still available. This analogy obviously does not work very well. If money is stolen from the bank there still exists the same amount of money – but the owner has changed. Therefore, pirating is more like counterfeit money. The money is taken and an illegal copy is being produced. Regarding money, this is considered fraud in countries all over the world. What would happen if everyone was able to easily produce as much perfect illegal copies of money bank notes as they want? The inflation – money would lose its value. Why this does not happen today is because it is virtually impossible to produce a perfect copy of a bank note. Sure, there are ways to produce a similar hard-to-notice copy of a bank note, but these processes are expensive and usually...

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