Copyright Manifesto

In my use of online materials, I plan to follow my own definition of ‘fair use.’ The stasis model, it appears, is unable to help very much in the definitions of important elements involving online files. Because of that, I plan to examine each case on an individual level, as each type of online file sharing has its own nuances. For example, taking part of a baseline of a song, playing it yourself and incorporating it into a new song is different in my opinion than just taking a whole song, editing it a bit, and calling it your own. The important thing to remember, though, is that all new art, music etc comes from ideas we get either consciously or subconsciously from already-created works. The internet just makes it incredible easy to access and manipulate these existing works. We need to find a place in copyright law that allows for the protection of existing art without stagnating future art. Like the Negativland article stated, “Referencing a work in a fragmentary way is at least as likely to have a positive effect on these areas of concern.” Sampling, for instance, can bring publicity to the works referenced, and thus profit if people go buy the original song or CD. New artists have always appropriated from existing works – without the influence of previous artists, innovations like rock & roll and cubism wouldn’t exist.

If an artist loses money at the hands of an edited piece of their work, I don’t think that is fair. But when one examines the record industry as a whole, record companies (more than pirates and file-sharers) keep money out of the artists’ hands. Therefore, the copyright issue is broader than between just artists and file-sharers. The whole industry needs to be changed to be more conducive to artists receiving a decent profit for their work, CDs being cheap enough that people will actually buy them, and record companies making a fair (instead of outrageous) profit.

As far as what will govern my relationship with copyright, I have a few basic principles. The underlying theme is referenced in the Technorealism article: the public owns the airwaves, the public should benefit from their use. Copyright should strike a balance between protecting artists and protecting the public’s creativity. The two need each other and feed off of each other – both need protecting.

My governing principles are:

· I will not claim others’ work as my own. While the blog itself is my project, material I incorporate into it will usually be from other sources, and will be noted as such.

· In referencing work, I will accredit the artist to the best of my ability through textual reference or hyperlink.

· I will not profit from the work of others – my blog will not be creating any revenue whatsoever.

· My purpose will be to use references to enrich understanding and provide interactive connections with the text. That is the context in which my references should be viewed.

The last principle is important: the U.S. Copyright office states that to be considered fair, the purpose is what matters: “various purposes for which the reproduction of a particular work may be considered “fair,” such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research.” As my blog is more about my personal research and experience on a topic of interest than a creative work, the intent to inform and educate is essential in considering copyright.


Creative Commons License

This work by
Rachel Survil is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

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