Today, there is almost no anonymity online. Many people strive for the opposite, in fact — total publicity as it concerns their professional goals, copyrighted materials, and intellectual property. In our contemporary world with new value systems, it just doesn’t make sense to hide your intellectual property. The very fact of stopping a new idea from implementation doesn’t make sense. Perhaps, it could even be considered a crime in the future. However, we aren’t speaking to the abolition of the copyright or its infringement.
Against the backdrop of the new developments and opportunities in today’s information-centric culture, copyright registration can be an obsolete mean to an ineffective end. In many cases, it’s even a limiting factor for industry development, and oddly enough, infringes on the rights of authors. Our current intellectual property system benefits corporations by complicating the process of protecting the rights of content creators. In an era where opportunities and innovations abound our system is almost a tragic comedy.
In most cases, intellectual property is more like a competition of strength, and has nothing to do with people’s actual needs. On one hand, every person has an inherent right to optimal distribution of their intellectual activities. On the other hand, society has constructed a powerful system of checks and balances, and power lies in the hands of an elite few. It’s no secret that information technology has changed concepts of relationships in all spheres of human activity — including between content creators and their buyers.
There is an extremely radical view that any intellectual property belongs to society as a whole. This point of view is followed by corporations, whose success is based on the effective use of text, music, video, pictures, and other intellectual property. Surely, we can understand that. There’s no doubt their success as organizations depends on their ability to cut a profit by expending the least money and effort possible. This system is only perpetuated by the rules that surround modern intellectual property issues. Our current system has effectively obstructed the development of modern digital distribution methods that appropriately reward content creators.
If the idea of intellectual property belonging to an entire society isn’t so far off the mark, it’s only fair the society pays back the individuals behind the content, who created the value for the world. We’re obligated to work out a method that helps content creator’s claim what they deserve freely. The system needs to be simple, fast, and cheap. Content creators need to have an opportunity to be an active participant in their intellectual property distribution process. These innovative new systems and mechanisms should be beneficial to everyone involved, from the initial creator to the consumer.
There are no technology-related obstacles that stand in the way of reaching these goals. Moreover, some entrepreneurs and enthusiasts find creative solutions within the current legal framework to enable simplification of copyright registration and intellectual property distribution. However, with the support of governments worldwide, we could not only improve the quality of life for millions of people, but achieve new levels of interpersonal communication. We could launch a new economy for an information-based society.
Can you afford to buy a music track for $0.99? Of course you can! What if you lived in a less economically-developed country? Probably not! Where do these prices come from? Are they set by the music creator? Should the creator earn enough? Yes, they definitely should. But should this track be available to the public? Yes, it should. What is the copyright of the track, and can we change it? I believe new systems are possible, and that there are no technical obstacles barring us from putting these systems into place. All of these questions lead to a single answer, which is the simplification of registration. Easier copyright recognition will open doors to a new era of digital distribution and intellectual property rights transfer.
Remember how in the recent past, it was incredibly complicated for authors to navigate book publishing, printing houses, registration fees and other obstacles. Now, all it takes to publish is just to typing text in a publishing program. The new wave of indie authors has raised plenty of complaints, of course. Some people believe that now every single ‘hack writer’ can become an author. However, it’s evident that these thoughts stem from a fear of losing personal status, an inability to accept innovations, and other fears that stem from human defense mechanisms.
I am sure the intellectual property sphere will undergo a similar revolution. There’s just no question that technology is worlds ahead from legislation. It’s just up to society to acknowledge this reality and move forward. We have to provide new opportunities to content creators to distribute their work. If we don’t, we’re permitting artificial barriers to content creation, the production of intellectual property rights, and distribution independently. Creators have a right to select their terms of sale and use, and the value of their product.
I discussed distribution issues in my previous post, but it’s directly tied to the copyright issue we’re covering here. We have to provide the entire chain with every advantage of new technologies and legal solutions. If a content creator can control the entire process, the consumer can access the products they want without violating the creators’ rights. The sales conditions will benefit everyone involved. Currently, if you ask a musician how they sell their songs or how often they’re in rotation on the radio, they’re likely to burst into tears.
This isn’t about any party’s plight, but the absurd situation we’re currently in. Both authors and consumers need each other. However, no one’s talking about the causes of our current situation, or the army of invisible intermediaries that control buyer/seller relationships. The advent of the internet has revolutionized our processes and values, regardless of how stagnant they seemed before the age of technology. I’m convinced that we’ll soon witness considerable changes in the copyright and intellectual property spheres.
By Vitalii Soldatenko