Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Advanced Entertainment Law Reflection

I was passionate about the need for protection of intellectual property rights going into this course, but now that area of law is scorched into my personality and will be reflected in all of my company’s actions going forward. I am personally and professionally offended by the suggestion that an artist of any type might not have equal protection under the law to produce and protect his or her product in order to earn a living.

At the root of current intellectual property corruption is the Internet. In my opinion, that is still the area of entertainment business law that needs the most addressing. While on one hand, the Internet provides a forum for artists to display their works, it also opens up a world of potential fraud by ill-doers. An artist is faced with the decision of whether to place their work for view on the Internet to gather followers and customers or to hold their work so closely to their chest that it can never be stolen – and possibly never sold.

Think of it in this way: If you needed a new transmission for your car, could you download it from the Internet? If you could find a website that would allow you to do it free, would you do it? If you did do it, would there be a nagging thought in the back of your mind that this is just too easy and potentially illegal? Probably - and you would be right. Someone or some company holds the patent to that transmission, and you just violated intellectual property law.

When it becomes “socially acceptable” to steal a product, commerce is at risk. That is exactly what happened with the advent of Napster in the 1990’s. If you loved music and had any sort of technical savvy, you could acquire any song you desired for free. No one had a problem with it; why is that? Social acceptance. Everyone is doing it. Now, if you want to steal a song from YouTube, take your pick of applications. It’s still cool, because everyone is doing it.

It’s not cool. If you want to hear a good song without paying for one, write it, record it, mix it, master it, and publish it. That’s cool.

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