Copyright in its first incarnation via the “Statute of Anne” and the “Copyright Act of 1790” stated that the objective of copyright was to “encourage learning” and this was to be achieved by securing authors the “sole right and liberty of printing, reprinting, publishing and vending” the copies of their “maps, charts, and books” for a term of 14 years, with the right to renew for one additional 14 year term should the copyright holder still be alive.
So think about what the intent of Copyright was. It was to ENCOURAGE LEARNING.
So fast forward 200 plus years and Copyright has a very different meaning. The encourage learning part is gone, replaced by massive expansions of copyright terms.
Copyright law has also given birth to corporations who purchase copyrights from creators.
Copyright law has also given rise to collection societies and licensing societies.
Copyright law has made infringement a criminal offence.
Finally, copyright law has become a money-making scheme that only benefits the large corporations that have a copyright monopoly. It’s become worlds apart from its original intention.
For a lot of people copyright law relates to the fact that they shouldn’t download movies or music without paying for it.
But what people fail to understand is that copyright reaches into everything we do. Copyright now is NOT about encouraging learning, but about locking up learning.
Copryight law is all about censorship. You know the one I am talking about, when a company/person with some wealth, issues a takedown claim to another entity that is not so powerful/wealthy to remove content they don’t like.
I am sure by now everyone has probably heard about the YouTube video of a cat purring being taken down by a Copyright Claim from music publisher EMI and collecting society PRS for Music. This is silly for a whole lot of reasons. First, EMI and PRS for Music use automated take downs, so there is no human involvement. Second, YouTube’s Content ID algorithm is obviously flawed as it thinks that a cat purring links back to a recorded song. Third, the YouTube user has been punished for doing nothing wrong.
REDDIT REJECTS COPYRIGHT CLAIMS – this is when an entity fights back and actually investigates the claims made against it. As mentioned above, corporations with money use automated take down systems and a lot of the sites that get hit with these take down requests comply without investigating the merits of the claim.
However Reddit doesn’t take the takedown requests as gospel. They actually investigate and determine if the takedown requests have merit. And WordPress, which hosts this blog is by far the best at handing and investigating take down requests.
COPYRIGHT CLAIMS OVERREACH – this is what happens when a powerful entity censors the speech of others. They look silly and they hurt their reputation.
Remember when Nuclear Blast via a Panama-based copyright troll called World Digital Rights went after people (maybe fans/maybe not) of metal band “All Shall Perish” back in 2012. Well the band wasn’t happy about their label going after people who could be “All Shall Perish” fans and guess what happened afterwards.
Vocalist Eddie Hermida departed to join Suicide Silence. Guitarist Ben Orum became a family man. Co-Guitarist Francesco Artusato was involved with another project called “Devil You Know”. Drummer Adam Pierce joined “Emmure” and at this point in time he is listed as Emmure’s drummer on their Facebook page and also listed as the “All Shall Perish” drummer on their Wikipedia page. That just left bassist Mike Tiner as the only member that didn’t have anything on.
The whole Metallica vs Napster focused on Copyright Infringement however what did that really mean. Metallica at the time already had a handsome deal in place where they would lease their shares in the songs copyright to a corporation for a nice upfront payment. Hell, Sammy Hagar paid for his divorce by putting three new songs on a Greatest Hits package and selling the copyrights of those new songs for a nice fee.
So going back to Metallica, who was really hurt when their music was infringed on. It definitely wasn’t Metallica. And if we had the original terms of 14 years, plus 14 years renewal “Kill Em All” and “Ride The Lightning” would now be Copyright free and in the Public Domain.
And that my friends is the great Copyright hijack.
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