Brief Thoughts on Copyright

Excluding cases of fair use, not allowing others to freely translate, make adaptations, etc. of one’s work (until decades after an author’s death) can be – in some cases – counterproductive in terms of the utilitarian argument.  This is one of the advantages of Creative Commons (CC), that one’s work can more freely be accessible to others which is in and of itself an incentive to create.  The rights graded by the Berne Convention, for example, end up limiting the number of individuals (potentially worldwide) who might decide to translate, make adaptations, perform in public, recite in public, communicate to the public, and make reproductions of a piece of work in a way that limits the exposure or networking opportunities that could lead to further recognition and/or financial gain.

Again, excluding cases of fair use: In terms of author’s rights, I see this in terms of degree.  I am all for ensuring attribution for authors, as in the case of CC.  But in the absence of CC, attribution usually results to granting permission, which is entirely a different notion.  The power of permission is independent to the preservation or promote of integrity.  Integrity comes from the way a piece of work impacts someone else.  When individuals have limited access to a piece of work, the impact the integrity has on the creator of the work can also be limited.  The deep connection an author has with their creative work is only magnified when greater freedoms are granted to others who engage with copyrighted material in a more public and transparent way.  The original purpose of copyright (before CC) expresses a narrow view of what phrases like integrity of creative works and deep connection authors have with their creative works mean. Creative works should be protected not only by the recognition of one’s work but also the freedoms of others to access such work.  This recognition is the result of freedoms others have to reuse, remix, etc. a piece of work that technology of the past could not afford.

Photo attribution


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