After reading and watching the required media involving copyright and fair use, and the Creative Commons, and public domain, I’m starting to realize the differences between the three.
Copyright involves only the creator having power over content distribution. Fair use implies that some copyrighted material has been altered enough to justify itself as a standalone piece of work, wherein the secondary creator now holds power over his own work.
Public domain is at the other end of the spectrum from copyright. Meaning, anyone and everyone can use the material because its copyright has expired, if that ever even happens anymore due to the ridiculous lengths of copyrights.
Creative Commons has surfaced to become a sort of middle ground between the two, with limited restrictions on content distribution.
I’ll admit, I don’t feel very confident in my ability to distinguish between what does and does not constitute fair use, so Creative Commons sounds like the rational approach; allowing the creator to profit from the ideas they wish, while allowing some to use other portions of their intellectual property.
I’ll also admit that I’m part of the generation that almost completely ignores copyright permissions. Although, I don’t use torrents and similar blatantly illegal services and platforms; artists deserve to make their living from their work, but only at a rational cost. That’s my line of thinking. That’s how the free market is supposed to work, not by raising prices to “make up lost profits” due to piracy. I’m not pirating, so why should I have to suffer? Disney, I’m looking at you. Inflation is expected, but DVDs used to be $15-$20. Now, they charge almost twice that, including a digital download as if it adds any value. I’ll go to my extreme here and say that that’s because media companies don’t even want you to know about Handbrake, acting like their account-restricted “service” is something other than a marketing tool, pestering you with spam guised as “deals” once you’ve been required to add your email. With that, I’ll end my rant on that portion of the topic at hand.
Childhood bastions of dream worlds and artists whom I used to enjoy have become more cruel with time, because of the power of copyrights. I understand that they want to protect their livelihood, but if I’ve made my own mark on it, and not just re-distributed their work, it’s mine. Sorrynotsorry. There are very few, if any modern ideas that are truly original; they’re assemblages of many ideas (just because you can’t or didn’t site the source doesn’t mean it didn’t ignite the spark of your idea). Strict copyright enforcement results in stagnant culture, and prevents innovation. The internet’s progressive duality, its beauty and its crudeness is likened to playing a worldwide game of telephone, some people laugh at a funny misinterpretation while others get offended that their idea wasn’t communicated correctly.
Where copyright is the man in the black suit and public domain is the blindingly brilliant angel, the Creative Commons is the honest merchant, letting you use some their ideas, while protecting their most valuable or personal property. It’s the rational common ground.