A Lesson in Copyright

In a world without copyright, you could watch any movie you wanted without paying a dime.  You could download any song and put it on your playlist without paying a penny.  You could read any book that was ever written without having to pay a damned cent.  You can take any clip you wanted from any source and tell everyone it’s yours, use it to advertise your stuff, and try to make money off of other peoples’ hard work.

It sounds like a wonderful thing, doesn’t it?  Until, of course, you realize that absolutely everyone else would have the same exact privilege.  So, you could have all the games and movies and songs and books you wanted without paying for them, but you couldn’t get anyone else to buy your games or books or movies or songs or artwork either.  After all, why would they pay you when they could take it for free?

Do you see the problem there?

Well, let me spell it out for you:  People create copyrighted material, because they hope to earn a living doing it.  If they can’t earn a living, then they won’t do it.  Sure, they might create some stuff, but they’re not going to invest nearly as much into the project, because they’re not going to get anything out of it other than personal satisfaction.  So, sure you could download anything, but there’d be less and less to download because there would be less and less created.

We live in a capital-driven world; whether individual countries practice capitalism or not, the world economy functions via capitalism.  The two primary alternatives are socialism or communism.  If either economic practice dominated the world, then the world’s resources would be redistributed more or less equally among everybody.  That doesn’t happen, thus capitalism is the driving economic reality of the world.

In a capital-driven world, people work in order to make a living.  This includes creative work, which results in intellectual property.  For intellectual property to have value, i.e. for it to generate the means to make a living, it needs to be respected.  The less the world population respects intellectual property—i.e. the more people steal it—the less value all our intellectual property has.

This is a marketing concern, because the only reason to market your work is to do so with the expectation of financial compensation, i.e. to make a living, at least in the long run.  Therefore, if your marketing materials erodes the value of intellectual property because you steal other people’s work to market your own, not only are you damaging your own credibility and inviting karmic retribution as a hypocritical thief, your are eroding the value of the very concept that makes the goal of “making a living” possible through creative works.

I’ll make it simple:  Don’t steal!  It’s BAD business!

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About Stephanie Allen Crist

I write fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and essays. I also provide business and resume writing services. Here on Caressing the Muse, I will write about the joys of storytelling, the art of writing, and my own work. I will also post regular reviews of novels, short stories, poems, television shows, movies, and writing about writing. Check out www.StephanieAllenCrist.com to learn more!
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2 Responses to A Lesson in Copyright

  1. acflory says:

    -waves hands in the air- Take a deep breath Stephanie! You’re right in everything you say. Unfortunately, far too many people have become used to getting things for free – at least from Indies. Where this culture of freebies will take us I don’t know, but I suspect that as a marketing tool, it’s counter productive. I also suspect that this is a cultural phenomenon based on a reaction to the ‘charge whatever the market will allow’ mentality that was in force for so long. I hope we’ll eventually settle in the middle somewhere with consumers getting reasonable prices and producers getting reasonable rewards. That kind of balance might even put the ‘borrowers’ out of business.

    • Eventually there will be a balance, because we lose too much if we don’t find it. People will catch on, but I hope education can reduce the fall-out. I mean, I understand the attraction to free stuff. But it’s not worth it. Personally, I’d rather have less, but pay for what I get and get paid what I’m worth.

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