William "Terry" Fisher, Berkman Center for Internet and Society, Harvard
Copyright utopia would include...
- creators are fairly compensated
- opportunities to engage in creativity are widespread (semiotic democracy)
- cultural diversity
- all persons have ready access to ideas, information and entertainment
- all persons have access to rich, empowering, continuing education
5 ways current copyright system impedes this Utopian vision - and possible cures...
- proliferation of protected, unregistered works - creates unnecessary obstacles for use & reuse; Creative Commons license is a cure already in place that doesn't require legal changes
- impediments to education - outmoded/clumsy educational exemptions; ambiguity of fair use; DMCA applied to education hurts film studies; overly cautious gatekeepers (universities, publishers, insurers); cure by expansion of exemptions
- impediments to semiotic democracy - modified films, mashups, amateur webcasting currently not permitted; cures include modifying fair use for greater latitude for transformative works & less latitude for consumptive works, define "derivative work" more narrowly or eliminate altogether, and resist expansion of rights of integrity
- impediments to search tools - cures include changing fair use to shield innovative tools such as Google Books or change default rule to opt-out (example: notice-and-takedown policy)
- crisis in entertainment industry - heightened by technological destabilization; cures include strengthening intellectual property rights, reinforcing self-help strategies, an alternative compensation system, or a renewed entertainment ecology
- modest reforms, even some without required changes to existing law, are obviously necessary
Panel Session Response
Kimberly Kelley (moderator), Patricia Aufderheide, Alec French, Jim Gibson, Tracy Mitrano
- universities traditionally resist critical assessment of copyright, which is converse to established educational practices, and simply state "this is wrong, end of discussion" - this needs to change if we're going to foster engagement and understanding in students, faculty
- copyright is intended to promote continued creation of culture; to promote progress of science & useful arts - need to remember this!