Copyright – Good or Bad?

copyright

Two weeks ago I made a blogpost selling the usefulness and need for intellectual property and copyright. However after further digging into the issue I think my stance has started to waiver. I went and read into the license agreements of a few games and discovered that some corporations can exploit the use of copyright laws to make what I think are absurd claims of ownership. For example this GameStation EULA (End User License Agreement) states that by agreeing to this EULA your soul will now become the property of GameStation. I think this agreement has exploited the supposed use of copyright laws. For what reason should an unknown, private corporation have ownership over something so personal; the soul.

According to the Australian Copyright Act 1986, the purpose of copyright laws are to “give to the author of a creative work his just reward for the benefit he has bestowed on the community and also to encourage the making of further creative works”. It does not include the ownership of a person’s soul.

I have come to realise that even without copyright laws people will still have the incentive to create and develop new ideas. Back in ancient times when there were no copyright laws, there were a lot of new ideas being discovered and developed. The work of Plato, Socrates and Copernicus about the universe was not patented. However, they were debated and developed to form concrete facts about this world. Take Galileo Galilei for example. He built on and confirmed Copernicus’s view of the heliocentric model of the universe, saying that the Sun instead of the Earth was the centre of the universe. If Copernicus had patented the idea preventing anyone from re-using his idea, the belief that the Earth was the centre of the universe may have prevailed for much longer.

The freedom of use of information is important in providing the building blocks for the continual innovation and creation of new ideas. I think we need to be balanced in our use of copyright laws and not make ridiculous ownership claims over our works; however we should also have a degree of return for the things that we produce.

Image source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/dullhunk/7513216676/sizes/m/in/photolist-crVcyy-bmnrCJ-7Efws7-9b45XN-8nDt9B-8yZZoH-9dyrHe-7TBNEZ-83U7ML-cL6n6U-7E2x5u-bktewz-7FAnYa-85iDHP-cgUzYf-9JWy4r-99Rf8R-9rjVkk-dwrfmk/

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7 thoughts on “Copyright – Good or Bad?

  1. That’s really interesting that they try to take ownership of a person’s soul, which could bring up all sorts of ideas of body-part ownership. Like could a plastic surgeon then go and copyright a woman’s breast implants to stop other doctors from performing further surgeries later on? Probably a bit of a stretch and there’s bound to be something from stopping it but an interesting thought.

  2. Yes, you are right. Copyright and intellectual property right are certainly important but it would not be a good idea if no producers can create new things any further due to these rights. My idea is that unless the producers abuse the goods and make any money, the rights don’t need to be that strict to regulate all the discoveries.

  3. I agree with you when you say that ‘we need to be balanced in our use of copyright laws and not make ridiculous ownership claims over our works’. I am all for wanted acknowledgement and recognition for the work that I create, but excessive copyrighting or patenting only leads to the potential of suffocating the emergence of new things! There is a difference between blatently re-using the track for ‘Under Pressure’ and making claim on someone’s soul because they buy a copy of a game you create. We do not want to see a lack of innovation, but at the same time we do not want to see the theft of innovation.

  4. I think there should be a line drawn as to what can be copyrighted, but there that line gets drawn, I have no idea! To quote one of the greatest movies of our time; “I saw Regina George wearing army pants and flip-flops, so I bought army pants and flip-flops”. What would happen if people started copyrighting every little thing they ‘created’. Just because Regina George was the first person to wear army plants with flip-flops, does that mean that she’s the only one allowed to wear them? After all, she is the one who came up with putting the two together.

  5. You have a really interesting perspective on the issue of copyright and intellectual property rights. I agree that sometimes the laws can be a bit too strong or imposing, of which the example of Plato and Socrates I like, as it demonstrates the way in which new ideas are introduced with no restrictions, and have led to some of the biggest scientific facts and decisions being established! Where would we be if these notions were copyrighted? However, I also think the concept is essential because of the incentive given to authors in terms of creating new content… If there is no recognition why would they do it?

  6. Nice post there. I think there’s a difference between ‘sole ownership’ and ‘soul ownership’ (but enough with the puns, that GameStation joke was a clever trick).

    I love that you’ve brought people like Plato and Galileo into the discussion here. I guess the world we live in today is very self-centric (that was another joke because you were talking about helio-centric before). Almost everything we do, we do for ourselves. Even when I’m blogging, my focus is on how many comments I’ll get, or what (if any) advertising revenue I’m going to receive. There’s rarely a thought that the ideas I’m generating are contributing a greater good, or that they’re part of a larger collaborative whole.

    I guess this is our mindset that may have been lacking from the minds of those past greats. And this is why we feel copyright is so important.

  7. Oh I love that you’ve used the GameStation EULA as an example. I remember when first being told about this it blew my mind. Not only because I realised how little I actually consider or read any agreements or Terms and Conditions when signing up for or purchasing products but that this is actually legally possible! It is just a further indication that today’s society or at least our generation are just not fully aware of the copyright and how it properly operates, which is probably why we torrent so many movies and HBO TV Series. Good example of the great philosophers as well, when people argue that we need copyright for people to continue to create, how do their ideas, which have lasted centuries, fit into that qualification?

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