The Reality Of Copyright And Free Speech

1980 Words8 Pages
Inherently, by very definition, the notions of copyright and free speech, in their purest forms, appear to be in direct conflict. Yet, equally, the ideas have the ability to not only coexist, but thrive because of one another; a synergistic relationship. Without free speech, copyright, surely, in the form we recognise it, could not exist. Artists would not have the freedom to even express their ideas, let alone claim rights to them. Likewise, without copyright, artists would perhaps be loath to speak their ideas as freely, for fear of theft and plagiarism. As such, copyright can be seen as a protection mechanism for free speech. Currently impeding both, however, is the internet. If used correctly and with noble intentions, the internet has…show more content…
Overall, the truly global nature of these issues will be revealed, highlighting that, though free speech and copyright are in many ways separate, even conflictual, they also face remarkably similar concerns, which impact negatively upon international democratic progress. Systematic governmental censorship is by no means a new phenomenon, nor is it one that commenced with the internet. However, as governments have realised the internet’s immense, and potentially disruptive, power censorship has risen to new levels. In order to contextualise this, and comprehensively understand why such things occur, it is necessary to first present the statistics of internet censorship, and identify the worst offenders. Therefore, it should come as little surprise that, though slightly under one third of the world’s population now has access to the internet, this access is by no means equitably or comparably distributed (Warf 2011, p.2). Rather predictably, in countries controlled by repressive and dictatorial governments, internet censorship is significantly more prevalent than in major democratic nations (Warf 2011, p.2). North Korea, China, and to a lesser extent India, are perhaps the most notable and rampant, though by no means the only, offenders (Khanna, Dhingra & Choudhary 2013, p.2695). This thereby serves predominantly to reinforce already repressive systems, and continue the cycle, thus stifling democratic progress.
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