There was recently a post on Techdirt about how even those who fight for stricter copyright laws end up accidentally infringing copyrights themselves.

The reason it’s so incredibly easy to infringe copyright law has to do with how out of control copyright laws have become.

As copyright was originally enacted, it was next to impossible to accidentally infringe. In the good old days in order to infringe on a copyright you had to physically publish a song or a book without permission by printing it onto paper via a printing press. There was no other way to copy or infringe on a song or a book and there was no such thing as a performance right protected by copyright.

Nowadays we infringe copyrights numerous times throughout the day without even thinking about it. Watching an unauthorized SNL clip on YouTube. Playing the radio in the background at work where customers can hear. Loaning a copy of your Finding Nemo DVD to play at your kids’ daycare. Downloading clip art to use in a personal scrapbook. Scanning your own wedding photos. Forwarding a funny photograph to a friend. Loaning a co-worker some software. Etc., etc., etc…

Copyright laws are so utterly pervasive in our lives that we simply cannot reasonably function without at least some innocent infringement. I personally think it’d be easier to avoid jaywalking and speeding than it would be to avoid infringing. So my question to you guys and gals, how long do you think you could last without infringing a copyright?

How long could you last without infringing a copyright?

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  1. taabitha says:

    SN wrote: Fair use is a defense.

    Wrong – fair use is a *right*. Copyright does not mean that all rights to the material belong to the creator – others have rights to use the material in certain ways, and in doing so they are not violating the copyright of the creator.


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