marcus westbury

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Age Column This Week: Creativity and Copyright

June 2nd, 2009 by marcus

For what i think is the first time, my weekly column in The Age is up and on the web site.

DIGITAL technology has created two opposing cultures. One where copyright rules are enforced by a phalanx of lawyers with no regard for artistic intent or respect for legitimate creativity, and another — in our homes, studios and offices — where ignoring copyright has become open slather. Neither serves artists or creators well.

In the professional world, many have experienced the madness of the official system. I discovered recently that the cost of clearing a three-second sample for a TV show — even with the artist’s explicit consent — can exceed the cost of flying to the other side of the world and back. Academics fear media companies that plant people in lectures to report copyright “violations” for showing film clips in educational contexts.

Yet outside the professional world, the kids are effectively ignoring copyright. The internet has become a global mix tape, an infinite jukebox and a video-on-demand service on a massive scale, and a lot of the time people aren’t paying for it. At times, it is copyright that actually prevents people from paying. “Illegal” downloads have become commonplace, not least because of the desire to get hold of TV shows, films or music that — usually for copyright reasons — aren’t even being sold in the formats or into the countries in which people wish to view them.

This is where Creative Commons comes in. Artists and academics internationally are working to reform copyright law and create a system that puts control back in the hands of the artists, not the lawyers, corporations, administrators and speculators who have created a minefield of copyright complexities.

Read the rest of it at The Age web site.

Hopefully The Age will make a habit of putting these online but if they don’t you can read them in the dead tree  edition of the paper every monday.

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