|Image from Wikimedia|
Due to the complexity of copyright laws, many people are unaware and do not acknowledge copyright, which leads to them abusing their digital rights. One of the many reasons people are unaware of these laws is because of the constant changes the laws undergo. Essentially any piece of work has a copyright, as copyright protection exists immediately once an author creates his or her work. Another reason why people are so clueless to these important laws is because of social media! Social media apps and websites such as Instagram and Pinterest are making it easier to break these laws through distributing unlicensed work. Because of how many people ignore the laws of copyright, others think that it is acceptable to do the same, or that there is in fact no laws against what they are doing. However, the laws of copyright are simply being broken on a large scale. A wide majority of people use work without the express permission from the original artists.
Many people do not understand why copyright laws are important or why the original artists would be upset with their work being illegally used. The fact is that music theft has increasingly gone up while music sales have drastically gone down. Many people contribute towards making music and art, and by violating copyright you are not only deducting profit from the main artist but from everyone else who has helped in creating the art as well. More music is acquired illegally today than is actually purchased. This results in millions of dollars of profit to be lost, causing approximately 70,060 jobs to be lost every year. Illegally downloading media and violating copyright may not seem like a big deal to you, however to the artist it can be a very big problem.
As expected, not everyone has the same opinion on the matter. Many people believe that copyright laws should not exist at all, and that they actually put a dent in our future. One of the many arguments heard from those who believe copyright is not theft, is that it is productive and increases the amount of people who see the artist’s work. Author of “The Rational Optimist,” Matt Ridley argues, “The minute you share an idea with anyone, it’s no longer “yours” in any meaningful sense. Ideas replicate, mutate and evolve when they’re shared from one person to the next.” Many people who are against copyright do also see it as a way for artists to get free publicity, but how does that work when they are the ones who are taking credit for the original artists work?
The fact is that violating copyright is in fact theft. You wouldn’t re-sell an author's book with your name printed on the cover (hopefully). So how is violating copyright any different? It’s irrelevant whether or not you think using the artists work is providing free publicity, because the publicity is not being given to the correct artist, which should be the original author, singer, painter, etc. Nobody should be able to claim or be awarded credit for someone else’s hard work. It is important for people to become more aware of the laws of copyright, how it impacts artists, and how they can help to make a positive change.