Think About Your Thinking Redux

I think for this thinking about my thinking, I would like to address Collection 3 as a whole. The readings definitely seemed to have a bent towards Libertarian and open-source ideals and away from intellectual property rights. At first, it seemed imbalanced to me, and part of me kept wanting to hear the other side of the story. Then I realized that, mostly, I’ve ONLY heard the other side of the story for my entire life. Thinking about it this way helped me to adjust my attitude toward what seemed at first a very one-sided argument. The readings certainly forced me to wrestle with some of my previous paradigms, and I think the choices were good to provide some balance to the imbalance we see in popular culture.

In the first assignment, I wrote this:

As a creator of media myself, I can appreciate an author’s or an artist’s desire to be paid for their work. When my father and I partner together to make a small video business covering weddings and other local events, I believe we should get paid for our work and that someone who wants to copy and distribute it should have to consult us first unless we have given permission.

–Me, 4 days ago

Now I realize that my father and I would be smarter to just charge what we feel is fair for the creation of the video, and let the people buy it from us in digital form, and they can take care of the hassle of getting it put onto a disc it if they want to. That is always one of the biggest hassles anyway. Once they pay us up for the filming and editing, they don’t have to rely on us for copies, and we don’t have to bother making them.

I also really appreciated some of the longer readings, including “A Creative Commons” from The Public Domain and The Surprising History of Copyright… I thought that they did a really good job at philosophically explaining some alternatives to traditional and extremely strict intellectual property laws. I still think that if copyright were to disappear overnight, culturally we would lose out on some of our most expensive-to-create entertainment that has yet to be formed. The high-end movies, video games, and books that I often enjoy would be precluded by the rising tide of free media, most of which is honestly pretty awful. I know there are gems out there, and some of the readings and videos had a few good examples to showcase, but–in my experience–when I am looking for a song with a cc license to use in a video or an audiobook read by fans from the public domain original, it takes an awful long time to find anything enjoyable or worth using, even when leveraging modern search technology.

Therefore, I am now firmly in the Creative Commons camp. First of all, copyright isn’t just going to disappear (publication and distribution business are going to make sure that it doesn’t), so the best option is to have two available streams of media: one for profit, and the other free. I can get on board with that idea. While I am creating things as an amateur hobbyist, I don’t mind putting them out there to bolster and strengthen the cultural commons, but I think it’s nice to know that copyright is still there to guard my professional creations if I want it to.

Finally, I really appreciate the discussion and resources Chris provided surrounding the topic of fair use. As a media teacher, copyright infringement has always been the spectre in the room for me, but now I feel much more confident that I can tell when my use of a copyrighted material could be labeled “fair”.

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