Digital Media vs Copyright Summary III

Dames, K. M. (2010). Three basic copyright questions answered. Information Today, 27(5), 18-19. Retrieved from

Copyright is defined in many ways, but overall it means the same thing.  It is a protection and an exclusive right that is given to an author.  This means that an author’s property, or original work, is theirs to decide if they want to publish, copy it, have it performed, etc., and to keep others from gaining from the author’s ideas (Dames, 2010).
In order for a piece of work to be protected, it needs to be original and fixed.  First, for a piece of work to be original, it has to stand on its own, apart from another’s work and does not copy their work.  Copying another’s ideas is not the purpose of the copyright law though, because the copyright law is there to protect the author’s original fixed work. Second, in order to fix a piece of work, it just needs to be visible either in the form of some type of computer storage or in traditional forms like books and tapes (Dames, 2010).
There are three main reasons or theories as to why copyright is needed: incentive, natural rights, and property. The incentive theory claims that copyright laws give authors the push they need to create new work.  Without the incentive of exclusive ownership and the ability to earn money off of the work, authors would not make new work simply because people would be able to easily duplicate it.  The natural rights theory claims that copyright is needed because it gives authors a “reward” for all their hard work to accomplish a piece of art.  The property theory is about the highly debated topic of considering copyright to be property.  By claiming that copyrighted work is property, it can lead to the idea of “piracy”, which leads to the stealing of copyrighted work (Dames, 2010).


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