Assignment #14 – Copyright

Copyright as defined on is a collection of rights that automatically vest to someone who creates an original work of authorship – like a literary work, song, movie or software. These rights include the right to reproduce the work, to prepare derivative works, to distribute copies, and to perform and display the work publicly.

Knowing what copyright means would inevitably lead to the question, why is there copyright?

I would say that copyright exists to serve as a protection to an original piece of an idea, artistic creation or invention from unauthorized usage. In short, copyright allows the owner to choose the ways his/her copyrighted works are made available to the public.

In my opinion, I think everyone who uses the web and social media platforms should be wary of the contents they share and duly credit original sources or authors. This, while showing appreciation and encouragement to the original creators for their work also serves to bring their craft to a wider audience which can only be a good thing in the long run.

My opinions on how best to use and share content on the web brings us to the concept of “Fair use.” Fair use, according to this sub domain web-page from the Stanford University website is any copying of copyrighted material done for a limited and “trans-formative” purpose, such as to comment upon, criticize, or parody a copyrighted work. Such uses can be done without permission from the copyright owner. In other words, fair use is a defense against a claim of copyright infringement. If your use qualifies as a fair use, then it would not be considered an infringement.

The concept of fair usage is one that I really like because it means that the general public are allowed the creative freedom to make an adaptation of an original piece of art without altering it significantly and without alienating the rights of the creator. This also becomes relevant because there are ideas which are triggered by an already existing art forms and which could be more relevant to specific groups in ways the original art isn’t. For instance, using a less than 30 second gif from a movie to express a singular idea or feeling that could resonate even louder than the movie from which it was gotten from.


There were various insights I got from watching the Larry Lessing video but the bit that I considered most significant goes thus;

“The importance is that that technique has been democratized. It is now anybody with access to a $1,500 dollar computer who can take sounds and images from the culture around us and use it to say things differently. These tools of creativity have become tools of speech. It is a literacy for this generation. This is how our kids speak. It is how our kids think. It is what your kids are as they increasingly understand digital technologies and their relationship to themselves.”

This quote which was quite relevant at the time is still just as relevant now. Despite being a slight deviation from the topic of copyright it is still a very vital insight into content creation on the web and how these contents affects us socio-culturally. The internet and specifically social media is growing at a rate that we can hardly keep taps on and just like any form of growth there are implications and ramifications.

On the creative spectrum, I can say that the web has been a blessing. Kids now have access to tools that help them express their creativity easily and also make it available to pretty much anyone around the world. ”This is how our kids speak”

On the downside, it’s harder to censor the contents the kids have access to. And that could be a huge problem in the quest for these kids to “increasingly understand digital technologies and their relationship to themselves”