Protection or Limitation?

Copyright laws are there to protect the owners of works from other people taking credit and monetary value from their ideas. But when do copyright laws go too far? I believe that the current laws of work’s becoming public domain 70 years after the creators death, and things like YouTube videos being taken down because a certain song is playing in the background, limit creativity and innovation rather than encourage it.  In the following video Lessig uses many examples of YouTube videos and how this influences the today’s culture and what this means in terms of copyright.

Copyright laws should allow creativity to flow instead of stunting their growth. Of course there is a need for some kind of copyright otherwise things could go backwards, and potentially no one would create new ideas in fear of not getting the right recognition and the deserved financial benefits. Although the laws should not be as harsh as they are, companies and creators should be allowed to protect their ideas but after a shorter amount of time these ideas should become public domain so other innovators can use the ideas to build on and create bigger and better things, allowing society to move much at a much quicker pace in regards to innovation. 

There are loads of ridiculous examples of people being sued for copyright violations, like this one for example an artist being sued for painting origami patterns, or that now unlocking your smartphone is a criminal offense. Copyright laws seem to have just turned into another way to make money, I think we need to take a step back and look at why they were originally put into place. 



  1. I agree that Copyright Law being in place for 70 years after the creators death is excessive. Boldwin gave a great example of this when he wrote about James Watt who came up with the idea and developed the steam engine with different combustion chambers. And later got a patent out on his development. So that everyone who developed a steam engine remotely similar could be taken to court for copyright. Watt had the monopoly on the duel combustion chamber engine. This is what I think is excessive that one person can have the monopoly on a particular idea up to 70 years after death.

  2. Awesome post! I actually said “yes!” (as in, i agreed) out loud a few times when reading this haha! I completely agree that current copyright laws limit innovation and creativity and that there should be laws that protect people, but allow people to gain access to ideas earlier than 50-70 years post death of the original person. Thats such a long time!! And those examples were great also, definitely all about trying to make a few dollars.

  3. I agree that copyright laws seem excessive, in fact nowadays laws seem to be put into place with the mentality of “we’re gonna getcha”. I understand that people have a right to protect something that’s theirs but people should be allowed to use these things for personal or recreational purposes just not commercial ones. Most of the time when people upload a video onto YouTube with a song, or part of a song in it, it is not to try and claim that song as their own and should not be punished for it. If anything this is free exposure for the artist and should be encouraged as much as possible.

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