September 29

Lecture notes and comments

Week #5

Date: September 29

Outline: In today’s lecture, Jon Ippolito was our guest speaker. He teaches new media courses here at the University of Maine, and spoke today about the issues of internet sharing and distributing of copyrighted material. My notes on the lecture can be found here. Journal for September 29.

Comments: In today’s lecture, I thought Jon brought up some very interesting points to think about. What is copyrighted material? How does copyrighting work? What system do they use to determine what is copyrighted? How do you copyright something? The questions went on and on, but the most intriguing question he brought up was does the copyright system we have now work?

This is a pretty tough question. First off, we don’t know all the details. He’s had a lifetime of research on this material, so he definitely has a head start when it comes to thinking about this issue matter-of-factually. But even intuitively, we can feel if the system of copyright law we have in place now works for us or against us. Frankly, I’m torn.

I see the benefits to the system we have. With the copyright laws in place, it makes it harder for big media giants like Disney or Time Warner to steal the ideas straight from the little guys who come up with them. With the system we have now, those companies still have to pay to use the idea, which means they can’t steal anything they want. This can be a good thing when you have such large media giants, because of the tremendous power they already wield.

The downside is that it restricts the little guys, such as independent film makers, who don’t have the money to spend on labels and copyrighted material. If these laws weren’t in place, making a movie would cost much, much less than it does now, which would allow some movies that would never have had the budget before to grow and blossom just as much as others.

So how does this dilemma concerning copyright law affect new media? If we had a more liberal system, we’d have an entirely different way of sharing ideas and claiming property over them. Many things within the sphere of new media would be radically different than they are today, for better or for worse. That’s why it’s so important that we talk about these ideas, so when they are raised again at a later time, we already have a basic understanding of both sides of the issue. Another thought provoking lecture in NMD 100.

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