Copyright, Copywrong, Copyrighteous?


I
n a perfect world, Art, Literature and Music would be as essential to life as air, food and water. The concept of copyright protection for intellectual property would be considered unnecessary and paranoid. But then, so would all the laws addressing moral perversions and the lack of honesty in business, politics and daily human interactions. Sure, this sounds simplistic, but as the laws surrounding the compromise and protection of creative production become become ever more byzantine, I find magical thinking of some comfort. Yet rarely has our civilization truly supported creativity in the arts to the extent of allowing artists, musicians and writers to be financially at ease so as to produce their best work and thereby esthetically enrich us all. Instead, we have had to unite through disparate organizations to lobby for legislation that protects the products of our hands and minds, if for no other reason than to prevent others being able to financially or intellectually benefit from them. In the past, when words and ideas were confined to parchment, paper and canvas, the expense and inconvenience of copying them allowed some moral discretion to prevail, but as our virtual online presence metastasizes, so does our grasp of physical reality fade. Because much of what we now produce creatively begins and ends online, it seems to disappear into a boundless black hole, so to speak, where we cannot see who may eventually make use of it and for what purpose. The only thing we do know is that we will likely never reap the fruits of that work in our lifetimes, if at all. Perhaps a web presence like Creative Commons self-righteously and idealistically purports to democratize intellectual property, yet I suspect its tenets are less than altruistic. While techno-corporate giants like the social networks, Google and Amazon engage in ‘copywrong’ skirmishes strategically vying for ownership of our intellectual property, they are quietly usurping it with no real intention of compensating us fairly.  And, as the old cliché illustrates, when elephants fight, the grass beneath them must bend or die. It’s no longer safe to assume that you still own your work once it leaves your drawing table or iteration of Photoshop. Creative property etymologically infers ownership, but that is truly a misnomer unless all that you create never leaves your studio. So for now, expensive though it may be, we must protect ourselves and our work within the existing legal grid. That said, I am reminded yet again that I need to gather my creative output from this past year and send it off to Washington where it will become another link in our Library of Congresses’ vast chain of numbers ‘officially’ filed in the event that infringement circumstances force their retrieval.

You may think what you like about the Ouroboros, the mythological symbol of death and rebirth that surrounds the ‘copyright C’ above, but if you like it well enough to copy it, at least ask first. You might be surprised at my answer…

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One Response to “Copyright, Copywrong, Copyrighteous?”

  1. animalartist Says:

    Ilene, thanks! I have to share this, it’s just too good.

    Like

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