A Closer Look at Copyright and Online Video
For many creators of original content (i.e. musicians, artists, writers, photographers, video creators, filmmakers, etc.), the Internet is a heartbreakingly open venue that makes it easy for anyone to use copyrighted images and videos without acknowledging sources, or paying royalties. For all Internet users, the fact that these images and videos are there for the taking is enough. Is there a copyright involved? A lot of people take refuge in the fact that they are only individuals in need of personal expression, a liberty that is now too abused that laws have been put up to protect copyrights online.
The world wide web is not an easy place to police. Its popularity is of the boomtown type, and most people believe that free and easy access to material in the Internet means there is no copyright protection involved. They should be disabused of this, and the way to do it is to educate them with best practice programs where copyright is involved. This can become standard for all entities online.
Even with the lack of concern for copyright violations in the public domain, online hosting companies do enforce copyright laws when they come across offender sites, but only because they want to avoid lawsuits. All these videos or images are used by everyone, but this doesn’t mean that there are no laws backing them up. The fact is, most people do not use video clips and pictures for business or promotional purposes – and therefore copyright violators are easy enough to identify, but so far we do not hear of heavy penalties or fines imposed on them.
There is also the fact that many social media sites encourage the copying and sharing of images and videos. While they might protect their advertisers, original protected content that do not earn money for them often come in for cavalier treatment, which makes people mistakenly see them as fair game. There should be laws that protect content creators from this kind of laissez-faire.
A good copyright and trademark attorney can solve a content creator’s dilemma in terms of client relationships. But neither the attorney nor the client can protect them from the widespread public practice of copying and uploading – the right of fair use is the most violated of all rights in the Internet. In an unfortunate case of reverse psychology, it’s been found that copyright notices encourage violations. This speaks of a too powerful freedom for Internet users, which feeds the ire of people who will hit out just because there is a law but it is hard for that law to charge them with anything.
No one seems to want to be the first to really enforce copyright laws online. It points to the fact that everyone may have violated these laws online at one time or another. In a world full of seemingly harmless but incorrigible offenders, enforcement is a hopeless effort. But the Internet is still young and growing, and its maturity will probably see a new set of standards for copyright protection and enforcement that people will come to accept.