Monday, December 15, 2014

Blog Post: The Benefits Of Copyright Around The World In Three Reports

As the semester comes to a close - and my focus on copyright - this post caught my eye.  It begins:
Although copyright law is territorial, the rationale for its protection is universal: ensuring a thriving and diverse cultural fabric for society to enjoy requires providing creators with the option of obtaining fair compensation for their work. As the year comes to a close, we take a look at three recent reports on the economic and cultural relevance of the creative industries and the essential role of copyright around the world.
The post goes onto talk about:


Michael Peter Edson said...

Hi Jill!
This characterization of the "universal" purpose of copyright makes me uneasy - - particularly coming from a copyright-industry publication.

From my understanding, the roots and purpose of copyright in the USA is very different than that of Europe, where the case studies are focused.

In the USA, the purpose of copyright, as articulated by Jefferson (and as made familiar to me by James Boyle's book "The Public Domain") was to ensure the production of new creative works by temporarily (very temporarily, by today's standards) granting rights to creators. The emphasis is on the need to encourage the generation of new creative/useful works, a process which can be accelerated by allowing creators to re-use the works of the past, not to guarantee a long-term revenue stream to rights owners.

You've probably covered this in your course ;)

Jill Hurst-Wahl said...

Michael, well..thanks for giving me a reason to dig deeper!

The first report on the creative industries and the BRICS (Brazil, India, China, Russian Federation, and South Africa) contains an interesting table on page 5, which notes that the intellectual property framework for each of these countries is not well developed. Page 13 then lists a relevant policy recommendation around intellectual property. ("Recognize the importance of ip and protection of copyright to
the creative process.") While the report is about the impact of creative works on the gross domestic product (GDP), this one recommendation does dovetail with your comment, I think.

The second report is also about economic impact and this time in the European Union. The focus is on the creative industries, which is a broad area (11 market segments). Page 24 talks about valuing and protecting creativity, which seems to have more to do with contracts that copyright.

In the preface to "Framing Dreams", the person writes that this book talks about the use of the legal framework of copyright law to support the film making business. As I skim through the book, though, that doesn't stand out to me.

So I pointed at a blog post that saw something much more profound than what I see in these three works. Yet, I think all three reports are interesting. And I think the first one on BRICS could be something that I would use in my class, when we talk about "international" copyright.

In my course, I like to begin by thinking about the creator and why copyright is important to that person (and that person would be you and me). We don't often benefit financially from our works, but they are our works and we need to understand what that means and then how we want our works to be used. Does copyright actually make us more creative? Now that would be an interesting panel discussion at some conference!

Michael Peter Edson said...

Thanks! Re: all of this, if you haven't already, definitely read Cory Doctorow's new book "Information wants to be free." Cory takes on old (corporate, industrial) vs new (personal, individual) concepts of copyright, with a particular focus on music, film, and writing. I think you (and your students) will like it!

Michael Peter Edson said...

...Also, re: the copyright framework in "Brazil, India, China, Russian Federation, and South Africa" being relatively undeveloped - - I've read (somewhere! Maybe Bill McGibben or Tom Friedman) that in so-called developing nations (I think it was India in particular) it's sometimes considered an economic/developmental advantage to have looser copyright/patent laws than in more (so called) developed nations, because the ability to re-use (without cost/legal implications/delays) materials can be an economic/social accelerant.