Discussing Copyright with changing technology

Today I was tasked with reading three different articles involved with copyright. Thankfully all of my chosen articles talked about a different aspect of copyright. I read an article that covered Betamax recordings being considered legal, a photographer suing Getty Images, and the consideration of a tweet being copyright protected. I will have the link to each article at the end.

The first article I read covered the lawsuit between Universal Studios and Sony Corp. Sony was selling Betamax videocassette recorders allowing consumer’s to record what was broadcasted on TV to be rewatched later. Universal claimed that this broke copyright infringement and Sony should be held liable due to selling the device to begin with. Thankfully the supreme court ruled that recording TV was considered legal and allowed future recording options such as DVR and Aereo. This definitely raises the question, what all are you allowed to record before it is no longer considered legal to do so?

The second article talked about photographer Carol Highsmith who had spent a majority of her life donating all of the photos she had taken to the Library of Congress for public use. She would later be contacted by Getty Images who stated that she was breaking copyright infringement by using her photographs on a website she owned. She then almost immediately retaliated by filing a lawsuit of copyright infringement against both Getty and Alamy. She had found that both companies were accusing those who used her photos for copyright infringement and demanding payment for the photos. A total of 18,755 photographs were involved in the lawsuit. This popped the question, how can companies like Getty or Alamy take photos available to the public and claim they have the copyrights and demanding payment for their use?

The third article discussed the idea on, are tweets copyright protected? One of the biggest things I learned from this article is that short phrases or slogans cannot be copyright protected. This originally made me wonder why slogans used by large companies could not be used if it was copyright protected. They later explain that although they can’t be protected by copyright they can be trademarked. This is typically down with slogans used for advertisement. When it came to tweets they originally could not be protected. This was due to tweets being limited to 140 characters. Now that the limit has been set to 280 characters this makes more tweets eligible for copyright protection. In the article they state that in order for something to be eligible it cannot be short, such as a slogan or phrase, and it must be original. Knowing some tweets might be eligible for copyright protection, what reason would someone have to want a tweet to be protected?

In Summary changing technology and services are raising questions on copyright laws. When something is submitted to the public can someone pay to get copyright protection? What is that person is not the content creator? In my opinion no one should be able to claim copyright unless the creator works for a company that clearly states in their policy that content belongs to the company and not the creators. Other questions include, when does it no longer become okay to record something to be replayed? This could be video or music. People used to record songs on the radio and put it on mix-tapes so their favorite songs were always available. Would this practice still be considered legal if someone were to record it off of an audio service such as Pandora or Spotify? Who would be best qualified to determine where to draw the line. I think musicians and other content creators work hard on their product to make money. If people have the option to record songs for free then this will discourage content creators and could harm future content. The final questions I have are about written word. By law if something is written then the copyright protection belongs to the writer. With this in mind when do post on social media get including in copyright protection? Can everything posted be considered eligible? Who draws the line on whether a post is considered original enough to be eligible? To me originality is hard to come by now a days, especially with the internet. Nearly everything we hear or see now was inspired by something else that had already been created. So when does something stop being original and just become plagiarism?

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