Let’s face it: copyright law doesn’t seem to be the most exciting thing to talk about. But it is much more necessary than some of us may realize: without it, we’d end up fighting and squabbling over who owns what, what constitutes fair usage, and spend all our time trying to defend our ideas and intellectual property.
There are people who worked really hard to create all of things we enjoy in life, from the music we listen to, the books and magazines we read, to everything we watch on TV, to the computer programs our computers would be useless without, and it is our responsibility to give credit where credit is due.
Copyright law is something we probably take for granted a lot of the time, or even pay no attention to at all, so Copyright Law Day is a good time to take a moment to consider what the world would be like if the law didn’t protect our rights to your ideas and things you produce.
The History of Copyright Law Day
The notion of copyright originally only applied to books. The first copyright statute ever made was the British Statute of Anne 1710. As far back as almost 250 years ago, in 1787, the United States Constitution protected copyrights in order to “promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts.” Even back then, the intent of copyright is to promote the creation of new works by giving authors control of and profit from them with copyrights usually being territorial, meaning they did not extend beyond the territory of a specific state unless that state was a party to an international agreement.
Today, however, which territory or even country people and create live in is not quite as important as it was in the past, as most countries agree on most aspects of standardized copyright laws. Normally, a copyright lasts all throughout the life of the creator, plus fifty to a hundred years after the creator’s death.
A common way to avoid paying the creators of various works that has become popular over the last few years is internet piracy; that is, illegally downloading these works without paying for them. This is a form of copyright infringement, and it is affecting various industries very severely because of the amount of people worldwide engaging in Internet piracy. An early May 2014 Guardian article claims that the movie industry is currently losing about US$20.5 billion annually to internet pirates. The software industry has also suffered substantially because of illegal downloading.
How to Celebrate Copyright Law Day
The best way to celebrate Copyright Law Day is to think of a way to show your gratitude to the creators of some computer program or work of literature, music or art that you particularly enjoy. You can do this easily by firmly resolving to always pay for anything and everything they created that you want – this means no downloading pirated versions of anything and paying for each product, be it a film, a CD, or any kind of software, etc. fair and square.
Show the creators of all of the things you enjoy some respect, and encourage your friends and family to do the same! Many people may not want to see it this way, but at the end of the day, copyright infringement is nothing more than robbing creative people of the reward they deserve for their ideas.