Damien on… Copyright
If you own a factory that makes bicycles, then steel tubing, rubber, plastic, ball-bearings and so on come in one end – and bicycles go bowling out the other. Fine. You have a product you can see, touch – and ride. But what if you own a record company? Or a film studio?
The problem is, you have products that are nebulous. Oh, they are very real – but still conceptual and abstract. And whilst in The Old Days, people had to buy music on records, see films in a cinema and watch TV programmes on TV (as and when scheduled by the distributor/TV station) – nowadays, thanks to modern technology, they can be COPIED and enjoyed ANYWHERE.
The thing is, in The Old Days, the Industry could CONTROL their nebulous, abstract products – but following the introduction, to the public, of recording tape in the early Fifties, audio-cassettes in the late Sixties, VIDEO-tape in the early Eighties and now, cheap, recordable audio/video disks, coupled with the communication superhighway that is the Web – trying to stop people USING these facilities is akin to Canute trying to stop the incoming tide.
But what of the audio-visual material these devices rely on? Well, this material is produced by the Entertainment Industry. Y’know – SHOWBIZ!
But as professionals make everything look like FUN, people FORGET it IS a business. Most think creative people are just PLAYING – not working. But then, they haven’t spent weeks in a jungle, or given the same interview over and OVER, or sung the same song seventeen times, ’cause the producer wants “that little bit of MAGIC”.
So sure, what showbiz types do, allows them to express themselves and it’s satisfying when it comes together – but it IS still WORK.
And actors, singers, composers, writers, producers and so on have to EAT. “Art for art’s sake – money for gawdsake.” Therefore, when an actor, singer, composer, writer or producer sees the fruits of their labours being sold as pirated goods by freeloaders – and they aren’t getting a penny for it – they tend to feel hard done by. Which is fair enough.
HOWEVER… when the product in question is a record or film made SEVENTY YEARS ago, where the CREATIVES are all long DEAD and the “owners” of the material are merely greedy corporations – this is where a LINE should be drawn.
This writer believes that after a reasonable time, music, TV and movies should become PUBLIC DOMAIN. Of course, some of it already IS. Generally, music becomes public property after 100 years and books after just 50. So why not SHORTEN and EXTEND this?
Okay, I can hear capitalists saying, “Yeah, why not give Constable’s ‘The Haywain’ AWAY? HE died 170-odd years ago.” Well, no. It’s not the same thing. An original painting is – like the bicycle – a THING. But it does raise another issue. These days, any movie that dresses a set with real paintings – or even prominently shows a famous old BUILDING – has to get “clearance”. These days, TEE-SHIRT LOGOS get pixellated without it. Which is ABSURD.
Bottom line? By all means ensure people who create “intellectual properties” get paid for their work. But once that has happened, allow said properties to be used by ALL – not get passed around like gold bricks from one corporation to another. If a company wants to buy intellectual properties as investments, alright. But those properties should have a set LIFE – then be free to all.
It’s no use us having this unprecedented ability to disseminate entertainment, if those who do so are going to be constantly harassed by big business.
With that in mind… go enjoy my YouTube uploads (see blogroll – top right!)