A Utilitarian View on Digital Copyrights Essay

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Introduction The rudimentary utilitarian view on copyrights is that they help to support the individuals who generate the creative culture for a society: if there are no legal controls over somebody copying or imitating someone else’s work, then these innovative people will not have enough incentive to continue creating new works (Lemley and Reese, 2004). If this were to truly happen, it would have a negative effect on the entire economy and the overall culture. However the raw material for new creative works is always found in the existing ideas of others — and copyright holders do not own the ideas expressed in their works (Litman, 2006). Innovation and creativity are always borrowed from the concepts created by others, so we must strike…show more content…
Which is ironic, considering that American publishing was built on the piracy of European works (Drahos, 2002). Under the current copyright laws in the United States, original creative works are automatically afforded copyright protection — there is no need to register or document anything. Through the years, copyright holders have always wanted more legal protection, while copyright users requested more lenient use (Frankel, 2010). However tightened and increased copyright protections, such as those found in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), have always been framed as an easy and ethical way to increase the revenue for copyright holders by insuring that they are properly compensated for all use. So as the years have progressed, the U.S. copyright laws have gotten progressively more complicated and harder for the average person to understand. This means ordinary citizens cannot understand these densely written rules, especially when they contradict what most consider to be common sense. The staff of their local restaurant singing the song, “Happy Birthday,” to a customer hardly seems like a public performance, little alone a legally actionable copyright offense. Posting a fan-made trailer for your favorite movie seems like fair use, especially since it is non-commercial. Online copying and sharing of files between friends is completely different than crimes like
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