Since we have been begun discussing copyright laws in English class, I have become much more aware of just how complex these laws are as well as how many copyright violations occur every day. According to Webster, copyright is:
the exclusive right to make copies, license, and otherwise exploit a literary, musical, or artistic work, whether printed, audio, video, etc.: works granted such right by law on or after January 1, 1978, are protected for the lifetime of the author or creator and for a period of 50 years after his or her death.
Although this definition seems simple enough, copyright laws can be very complex. And despite the fact that we often do not realize it, copyright laws are violated every day. From downloading music illegally, to inserting pictures in publications without permission, to using a song during a performance or sporting without paying royalties to the producer and everyone involved in creating the song - all are violations of this law. This weekend alone, I witnessed several copyright violations. To begin, I downloaded new music off of the popular free music website, "Limewire." Then, at the UHSAA 3-A boys final state basketball game, they played the song "Yeah" by a popular hip-hop artist while introducing the players. If the UHSAA did not authorize the playing of this song with the producers and did not pay a royalty, the playing of this up-beat song was a violation of United States copyright laws. Lastly, while I was watching the news on Sunday, I realized that one of the reporters was doing a report in front of a downtown McDonald's. Although the location was harmless, the fact that the cameraman captured the McDonald's famous "golden arches" in his wide-angle shot could have easily been grounds for a copyright law suit if the news station did not clear the picturing of the arches with the McDonald's corporation. Oftentimes we will make a copy of a magazine or newpaper article for school; there is fine line between copyright violation and the educational use of material. And how many of us "borrow" ideas for a project or a paper? When we really start to pay attention to how many copyright violations occur on a day to day basis, the results can be shocking.