A Re-Imagination of Copyright.
Currently copyrighted material is proving to be a big problem. I have been blogging on and off for about 4 years now. Recently I decided to go for it full-time. I knew copyright was going to be a grey cloud hovering over my head. Let’s face it learning about copyright law is not fun. Also consider the fact that in the digital age where making copies is stupid easy, copyright is completely ignored by most. People want to make copies of stuff and they want to share it for the most part. I have no problem with that but I struggled to ensure copyright was respected in this reality.
After some time thinking about it and discussing it with friends. I realized the only way to respect copyright is to simply allow people to copy your stuff. Now I know your heads must be spinning right now so let me explain in detail what I mean. First, if you post something online there is a 99.9% chance it will get copied. So deal with it! Your stuff will get copied by someone else if you post it online! You may be asking yourself right now, “what do we do about it and how do we stop it?” Well you can’t stop it and you shouldn’t either. What you can do about it is to simply reach out and ask that you are given credit for the work. If you want some monetary compensation then ask for it. Ask people to help fund your work through donations or to buy it and give it as a gift. This way you can still feed yourself or your family.
Copyright was meant to create a monopoly over a “product”. But that breaks down in our digital age. The idea of a monopoly created by copyright has to be re-imagined. My re-imagination is to create a monopoly of influence over your “product”. For example, if you state your case clearly enough for why you deserve for people to buy or donate to get a copyrighted copy of your work. Then you deserve a chance to have a successful product. It’s not a hard concept to understand and as a matter of fact the Hollywood film industry already does it! Hollywood films are heavily advertised. Think of the last big Hollywood film you saw and now think of how many previews or ads you saw for it. You probably saw a significant amount adverstising not just on T.V but online, in print, and radio. Hollywood spends a significant amount of time and money to ensure that you go watch a film. Isn’t that Hollywood influencing you on how to spend your money and time? I think it is and I think if they are able to get me to go watch a film then they stated their case clearly enough.
It has been said in various ways and by many people that musicians can make a profit by selling concert tickets even if they give away their music for free. Filmmakers can also make a living by selling their works in various formats that are DRM-free even when their works are pirated. Writers can make a living even if their books end up online. Several of the Harry Potter books ended up online before the actual release but J.K Rowling still made money from them. Why? Simple, because at the end of the day when we shut-down our computers we are all people. People will always chose to do the right thing(at least in my opinion) and they will buy a product if they feel it’s worth it. Take the idea of crowdfunding a project or a startup. People can view your idea and decide if it’s worth donating too. The projects that don’t receive their funding are naturally the ones that didn’t properly convey their idea.
These are simply my ideas, imagine what else can be imagined if more of us put some time into it. Imagine how many great films can be produced if Hollywood listened to consumers instead of following their own agenda. The beautiful thing about the Internet is its ability to create ideas in an organic fashion. Sure it may take a little longer to do it but the result is always democratic. So copyright can be re-imagined for the digital age we just have to actually do it.