ZML Didaktik / Innovative Learning Scenarios

Reading and thinking about copyright

Posted on: Oktober 6, 2012

Week 3 in the Openess in Education MOOC – reading „The Surprising History of Copyright and The Promise of a Post-Copyright World“ I summarize the differences between physical content and digital content:

  • production costs are different
  • additionally there are reproduction costs for physical content and it is not widely accessible (e.g. you have to buy books)
  • low reproduction costs for digital content (.. but if you take into account all costs for digital content the sharing is not that cheap… never seen an overall calculation for it)

creative work – distributor – consumer, copyright helps the distributor not the artist. E.g. record companies are against file-sharing platforms.

Stealing: you have my bicycle and now I don’t have a bicycle – against Copying: you have the file and I have it as well.

Copyright started in 16th century England as the government was preoccupied about  too many work being produced – so copyright was about control. A guild of private-sector censors, the London Company of Stationers, was implemented and every book should be controlled by them. Around the end of the seventeenth century the monopoly was dissolved. But the the „stationers reasoned, people who write would always need a publisher’s cooperation to make their work generally available.“ Authors have the right of ownership of their work, but his ownership can be transferred to other parties by contract. To have their books printed the authors have to transfer their right of ownership to others! This was the content of „the first recognizably modern copyright, the Statute of Anne, was passed in 1709 and took effect in 1710.“

This statute is often discussed as measure to protect authors whereas in reality it serves the publishing industry.

Now we can see is two parallel streams of creative work: the proprietary stream, and the free stream.


3 Antworten to "Reading and thinking about copyright"

I like your bicycle Bild.

Oh sorry, this is the first time that I see an ad in my blog – I’m writing about a bicycle and „they“ add a car ! … seems I have to think about the upgrade…. jupidu

Copyright was NOT instituted to protect the rights of the authors or the publishers. It was instituted for the reason in the title of the ACT: An Act for the Encouragement of Learning, by Vesting the Copies of Printed Books in the Author’s or Purchasers of Such Copies.
Protecting the rights of authors AND the Purchasers was felt important to promote learning. And note that both authors‘ and purchasers‘ rights were included.

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