Solutions for Adapting to Copyright in the Technology Age: The Evolution of the Internet and Digital Technology Has Created an Open Market for the Distribution and Sharing of Intellectual Properties. but in the Fast-Paced and Ever-Changing World of the Digital Age, How Can Those Who Work in the Creative Industries Protect Their Intellectual Property?

Article excerpt

The protection of intellectual property rights has become one of the most difficult challenges for creative industries, affecting governments, artists, creators, analysts and agencies alike. The most significant challenge is how legal and policy frameworks can keep up with the fast-paced and constantly evolving digital world. Technology changes quickly and with it come new innovations that on the one hand help the creative industries, but on the other create a myriad of social and legal barriers to the effective use and protection of their outputs.

In todays world, the pace of technological change has created a situation where it is often not possible to do the very things that technology now makes so simple and inexpensive. The Internet, and especially the ongoing development of the digital social web, makes the mismatch between what is possible and what is allowed obvious. Sharing files? That's illegal according to international copyright law. Mixing or mashing music, text or video is also usually illegal. Posting excerpts from a website or blog is still illegal in most cases. Of course, these "infringements" are still happening, but it is difficult to build legitimate, sustainable practices or business models when every participant is potentially a criminal in the eyes of the law.

Creative Commons licences: A fast growing movement

While copyright remains the fundamental guarantor of the rights of authorship, the Creative Commons movement is a fast-growing area of interest in the protection of intellectual property rights for artists, creators and educators. Creative Commons (CC) is a non-profit corporation dedicated to making it easier to share creative works within the rules of copyright. Through providing free licences and other tools, CC provides a mechanism for creators to embrace the capacities of the Internet to collaborate virtually, and expand access to information and opportunities. CC licences are not an alternative to copyright but are a permissive tool for facilitating the release and waiver of rights, primarily for works of low immediate commercial value.

CC licences (see box) were created in collaboration with intellectual property experts around the world to ensure that the licences work globally, and are composed of a combination of four basic choices. There are already more than 250 million CC-licensed items on the Internet, created by artists, authors, musicians, scientists, artisans, educators and anyone else to share their work, build their reputation and increase the impact of their efforts. Among the better-known institutions and groups using CC licences around the world are the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) for its Open CourseWare Initiative, A1 Jazeera for their Creative Commons video repository, Google for search and discovery, and even the White House in the United States for all public communications channels.

Creative Commons: Types of basic licences

[??] ATTRIBUTION

Allows others to copy, distribute, display, perform and remix copyrighted work, as long as they give credit in the way requested.

[??] NON-COMMERCIAL

Allows others to copy, distribute, display, perform and remix work for noncommercial purposes only, If they want to use the work for commercial purposes, they must contact the creator for permission.

[??] SHARE ALIKE

Allows others to create remixes and derivative works based on creative work, as long as they only distribute them under the same CC license as the original work was published.

[??] NO DERIVATIVE WORKS

Allows others to copy, distribute, display and perform only verbatim copies of the work--not make derivative works based on it. If they want to alter, transform, build upon or remix the work, they must contact the creator for permission.

PAVING THE WAY FOR EDUCATIONAL MATERIALS

For educators, CC's legal infrastructure gives flexibility to the creator, protects users and makes collaboration easier as they don't have to worry about copyright infringement as long as they abide by the terms of use. …