Wk 1 – MAC Response – Sarah Howard

My Response


You go into a deeper explanation of what is and what is not a copyright, which I truly appreciate. I also like your design for this particular blog. Very creative and within your personality. One thing I was confused on as far a copyright for companies was if the company was still in existence, for instance companies that 100+ years old, would the copyright for things they did expire, even if they were still using them and then become free domain for all? Does the original compnay then have to repurchase the copyright for their use?

The passion you have for this subject comes through quite clearly and I agree with you that we are paying the price right now for our individual “protections”. Like you, I feel Creative Commons is excellent transition and bridge to copyright. Your statement “The creator must publish their work as Creative Commons, and they must identify the way people can reuse their work by assigning some or all of the defined, acceptable methods with which their work can be used, which are easily identifiable by the assigned icons associated to each definition/method” shows how this can be accomplished.

Thank you for your post

Original Post by Sarah Howard

Week 1 Reading: Copyright And You


The reading for this week centered on Copyright Law.  What it is, what it isn’t, what it means to end users and what it is doing to the ability to further our culture, society and experience of the world around us.


What is Copyright?  According to our lectures copyright can be applied to any permanently fixed work that can be seen or heard.  According to the  Merriam-Webster dictionary, it is “the exclusive legal right to reproduce, publish, sell, or distribute the matter and form of something (as a literary, musical, or artistic work).”  So, essentially, from the reading and videos, in order to copyright something, it must be in a fixed form, such as print, video, dance, a physical piece of art, and so on…

Currently, Copyright Law states that a creator holds the copyright for the lifetime of that individual PLUS 70 years.  If it is a business or corporation, they hold the rights for 100 years.

Copyright Law (especially in it’s current form) serves solely to identify the rights to monetary compensation for the use of a copyrighted item.

Is Fair Use Fair to Use?

When reading/watching about Fair Use, I found the video A Fair(y) Use Tale, to be an excellent example of a test of the Fair Use standard. Fair Use in it’s early form essentially had no set parameters.  People simply argued that if they were using a bit of copyrighted material here and there in other works for other reasons and purposes, they should be allowed to do that.  It was really a huge risk to take in that the notion of Fair Use existed, but it was not really defined.  In come some of the (probably)  biggest offenders to save the day.  Filmmakers.  After facing what seems like several instances of copyright roadblocks, the Documentary Filmmaker’s Statement of Best Practices in Fair Use was born.  It did provide guidelines as far as what was acceptable industry practices of  Fair Use and what was not.  Something that had been lacking and creating a problem.  But this document does not solve the problem by any means.  Fair Use is still an extremely narrow platform on which to stand when using others copyrighted material.  Also, it is apparently not a law per-say, but rather a “defensible position” one would take when a copyright infringement is brought to table.  But is Fair Use Fair to Use?  In the end, what I have gathered from our reading is…not really.  To even consider using this stance, the material in question must meet the following criteria:

A small amount (small not being defined) of copyrighted material may be used for:

  • Teaching
  • Parody
  • Critical Comment
  • News Reporting

These considerations must also be made

  • The Nature which the material is being used
  • The amount (again undefined)
  • and the most important…. COMMERCIAL IMPACT

So…Is it fair for everyday folks to use the Fair Use claim?  Not as far as I can see.  One would think that there would be no impact in any way from just using a bit of material here and there for the average student or homemaker with a family website…but even we are not hidden from the long arm of legislated cost to use, improve, incorporate or base our own works off  of copyrighted material.

Hitting the Nail on the Head

The pieces of this weeks reading/ watching that hit home for me were the videos that touched on the losses we face as a culture, a nation and as just plain beings on the planet because of the outrageous cost to use copyrighted material and the expanse of time that copyright has been applied.  $15,000 USD to license one verse of the song Happy Birthday????  Really????  as many of the videos point out…our history is going to the highest bidder, or is being locked away from the public because the creator can’t afford to pay for it anymore.  That is appalling. No wonder we have made ourselves destine to repeat our past….we can’t afford the opportunity to learn from it.

Creative Commons

So…now we have people starting to see that there may be the need for the use of copyrighted material found on line or in similar media fashions…and a way to identify if it is “OK” to use a copyrighted item and under what criteria it is “OK” has been created called Creative Commons.This development IS something that I feel to be beneficial and for the most part, it has eased the confusion surrounding what and how others can use copyrighted material found  on line.  The creator must publish their work as Creative Commons, and they must identify the way people can reuse their work by assigning some or all of the defined, acceptable methods with which their work can be used, which are easily identifiable by the assigned icons associated to each definition/method.

I understand that art is not free, and that creators need to be compensated for their work.  That is not the inherent issue (although it is a bit out of control I think).  But the length of time a copyright can be held, which started at 14 years and now has essentially turned into…forever…in every sense…is inexcusable in the greed department.  How can we grow, how can we improve and perfect that which has come before us if we can’t even touch it or see it because we can’t afford for the public to hear a little “Happy Birthday”?

In short, Copyright is a necessary evil, but it has become more evil than necessary.

3 thoughts on “Wk 1 – MAC Response – Sarah Howard

  1. Greate pieces. Keep writing such kind of information
    on your site. Im really impressed by your site.

    Hi there, You’ve done an excellent job. I will definitely digg it and personally suggest to my friends. I’m sure they will be benefited from this web site.


  2. Hi Angeli! Thank you for the excellent feedback on my post! To answer your question, I think we have been given some generalized information. According to the US Copyright page, which contains the law and may links relating to copyright, under “duration” (http://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap3.html) it states that

    “In the case of an anonymous work, a pseudonymous work, or a work made for hire, the copyright endures for a term of 95 years from the year of its first publication, or a term of 120 years from the year of its creation, whichever expires first. If, before the end of such term, the identity of one or more of the authors of an anonymous or pseudonymous work is revealed in the records of a registration made for that work under subsections (a) or (d) of section 408, or in the records provided by this subsection, the copyright in the work endures for the term specified by subsection (a) or (b), based on the life of the author or authors whose identity has been revealed. Any person having an interest in the copyright in an anonymous or pseudonymous work may at any time record, in records to be maintained by the Copyright Office for that purpose, a statement identifying one or more authors of the work; the statement shall also identify the person filing it, the nature of that person’s interest, the source of the information recorded, and the particular work affected, and shall comply in form and content with requirements that the Register of Copyrights shall prescribe by regulation.”

    There is no specific mention in this section (post 1978 when the law changed) of copyright held by companies. So…I would say to actually answer the duration question…once the 120 years is up, the copyright would expire on that item. I do not know if a copyright can be renewed to extend the length of ownership however. Perhaps someone else may know that.

    Thanks again!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s