Copyright: Watch, But Don’t Touch!


Copyright is defined as ‘the exclusive and assignable legal right, given to the originator for a fixed number of years, to print, public, perform, film, or record literary, artistic, or musical material.’ Thus it gives copyright owners a set of economic, moral and legal rights. The purpose of copyright law is to protect the creative work —the written expression of an idea or concept— of the assigned owner from unauthorised used. Under Australian law, copyright protection is created the moment one expresses -regardless of whether it’s published or unpublished work —their ideas in material form (University of Sydney, 2009).


According to Steve Collins, considering this digital age where consumers have become the producers (prosumers), copyright has come under great scrutiny. As Collins claims, ‘prosumption blurs the traditionally separate consumer and producer creating a new creative era of mass customisation of artefacts culled from the (copyrighted) media landscape” (Collins, 2008). There is greater ability to use and appropriate content creatively in today’s digital era. However copyright poses a threat to such activities as it restricts free expression, creativity, culture, innovation and democracy (Collins, 2008).

Copyright law has abandoned its reason for being: to encourage learning and the creation of new works. Instead, its principal functions now are to preserve existing failed business models, to suppress new business models and technologies… -Steve Collins.

In response to the posed threat of restricted creativity and innovation, an international non-profit organisation known as Creative Commons was formed. This organisation provides “free licences and tools that copyright owners can use to allow others to share, reuse and remix their material, legally” (Creative Commons, 2014). As the organisation explained on their website:

Information can be communicated in an instant across the globe, cheaply and with good quality, by even the most basic internet user. However, while the technology has the capacity, the traditional approaches to managing copyright limits the reuse of material and significantly hamper its negotiability in the digital environment.

 Even the online virtual world of Second Life has used Creative Commons.  Second Life recently integrated the technology of  anaglyph 3D mode with Oculus Rift. The Anaglyph Glasses (used for 3D mode) are licenced under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States license. Here is also link to an article in relation to theft and copyright issues on Second Life.

Also check out this fun video that further explains how Creative Commons works:

I do understand the importance of copyright and protecting work any individual has created. I would feel cheated if I produced a piece of creative work which was later copied and reused by someone else who ended up making $$$ from it. However, considering the digital era in which we are immersed in now, I believe a balance is needed between public and private interests. I think Creative Commons is a great idea and hopefully more copyright owners will use it as a means to promote the continuous road of creativity and innovation.


Reference List


Creative Commons Australia, About Creative Commons, viewed 24 March 2014, <>.

Collins, S 2008, ‘Recovering Fair Use’, M/C Media Culture, vol.11, no.6, viewed 22 March 2014, <>.

Linden Lab, 2014, Introducing Anaglyph 3D Mode, Second Life, viewed 1 April 2014, <>.

Oxford Dictionaries, Definition of Copyright in English, Oxford University Press, viewed 23 March 2014, <>.

The University of Sydney, 2009, What is Copyright?, The University of Sydney, viewed 23 March 2014, <>.

2020 Media Futures, The Prosumer: Consumer as Content Producer, viewed 23 March 2014, <>.


Nicolas Suzor, 2006, Creative Commons Mayer & Bettle Animation, YouTube, 19 October, viewed 24 March 2014, <>.


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