First Amendment, Copyright, and Freedom of Expression

In the documentary "RIP! A Remix Manifesto", I thought it was really cool how Lawrence Lessig used his freedom of expression right by gathering large audiences and talking about the use of technology to access free music and entertainment. He was able to talk very passionately to the people because they believed the words he was saying, and he felt really strong about the topics he was covering. One of his main points is that in today's time of technology we can't let our kids be passive like we were, but that they will have to be pirates. His focus was on whether this is a good thing or not. He talked freely about this issue, and it reminds me of a professor I've had before. In an evidence-based nursing practice course I've taken, I had a professor who was very strict regarding APA citation, copyright, plagiarism, etc. When talking about all the copyright the world has going on today with the use of technology we have access to, he talked about piracy, and the risks it has. Lessig talks about this as well, and how so many people in the world today do this on a daily basis.
I do have a few concerns of my own regarding copyright, and how it may limit people's freedom of expression. Copyright laws are very strict, but people get sued all the time for breaking these copyright laws. For instance, in the movie they talk about taking snippets from other people's work, and putting them together in a montage to advertise for something. These snippets are considered "fair use", but the person using them could still get sued for copyright, they'll just have a better defense to get charges dropped because they used parts that were fair use. This seems concerning to me because people are most likely just trying to make something of their own to show others. This is done through using parts of other people's work, knowingly or unknowingly breaking the law, and potentially getting charged for it. I feel like some copyright laws are too strict. Just like the pastor who's son downloaded music illegally, and now they're being sued for it. This may be extreme because the son may not have known, or maybe the laws are just a little too strict on people.
There's been many times where I think famous people use the platform they have to talk about issues in the world, both responsibly and irresponsibly. For example, when the Dixie Chicks were singing at a concert, they used the audience they had to talk bad about the president and this country. They vocalized their shame in president George W. Bush, and not wanting to be apart of this country during a time of war they believed to be his fault. The audience looked up to them, or they wouldn't have paid for that concert, and now they just voiced their opinion to thousands of people who would take their words to heart. This may have been a little too much, and not their place to talk about such a controversial topic as the war in Iraq that they felt the need to mention.
In an instance like the one stated above, I feel like someone of authority should have addressed their comments to try and neutralize the situation. The Dixie Chicks had a large following, so someone with an even bigger following should have addressed what they said and try to make people realize the truth of the situation, not just follow the singers they love. This is true for any situation, people of authority shouldn't just use their platform to say any given thing because people who follow them will take what they say to heart, whether it is correct/good or incorrect/bad.


Popular Posts