Copyright and freedom of speech are two important aspects of communication technology. However, both ideas pose conflict, especially due to legislation, thus making it difficult for both practices to be able to coexist. The oxford dictionary define copyright as ‘the exclusive and assignable right, given to the originator for a fixed number of years..’ it also defines free speech as ‘the right to express opinions without censorship or restraint’. Even from the definition of each term, it can be seen that both ideas are contradictory. Free speech poses a threat to intellectual property and copyright threatens free speech (Wu, 2004). This essay will explain why a conflict exists between copyright and freedom of speech, how communication technologies have impacted both ideas and how it affects profit and costs, as well as democratic debate. The main issue that affects the coexistence of copyright and free speech is that free speech is limited by the constraints of copyright.

The conflict between copyright and freedom of speech is a concern is Australia, as well as other countries. Many nations have discovered how difficult it is for both to coexist under their current legislation. The problem lies here, The Copyright Act 1968 does not allow people to use another’s intellectual property as a part of free speech (Rothman, 2010). This undermines the true meaning and purpose of free speech. Current legislation does not protect people who use another’s intellectual property for the purposes of free speech (Rothman, 2010). In America The First Amendment does not support, individual speech rights should outweigh the producing value of copyright (Rothman, 2010). Legislation needs to be somewhat balanced, in terms of content owners protection and rights and users protection and rights. Exemptions toward people using intellectual property in free speech are rare (Holland, 2001). Copyright laws are different in every country and because of the internet it is hard to regulate (Copyright Vs. Free Speech, 2007). The conflict between both of these topics is a problem because it has an impact on the way that we communicate through technology.

New communication technologies can affect the conflict between copyright and free speech. Copyright may now not be the legal concept that it always has traditionally been, it may now be a technological concept. (Holland, 2001). It is now time for some digitally designed legislation. (Doctorow, 2007) This does not mean that there are not legal issues regarding copyright anymore, it is suggesting that the issue could be regulated through technology. Copyrighting is making communication, through new technologies, more and more difficult. An example of it being difficult to communicate with copyright is, certain words that cannot be said because that word is copyrighted by someone (Copyright Vs. Free Speech, 2007). Technology has made it very easy to copy another’s material. Due to the ease at which people can access another’s work, the incentive for creative works to be produced is diminishing. The owner of the creative work has less and less control over the work with technology. Creative industries rely on copyright to protect the livelihood of the industry, which is why people are less motivated to produce the material in the first place (Wu, 2004). With the internet we can communicate in many more ways than ever before (Doctorow, 2007), which is why so many creators are discouraged. Free speech is considered to be a social good (Loughlan, 2002), which makes the issue and conflict so debatable. In order to successfully live in a democracy free speech is needed. The main issue is the technology that provides a route for free speech to happen at the same time copyright can be breached.

Julian Assange is well known for using the internet and new communication technologies to make free speech. He used these mediums to have his say. The information he provided was private information, which he gained more or less from hacking and spying. What he did may not be considered ethical, however he used free speech to stand up for something he believed in. Assange’s example I san extreme case and some people use the internet to stand up for issues they believe in without causing as much of a stir. Therefore, it is hard to draw the line between standing up for something you believe in and exposing confidential information (WikiLeaks, 2012). Here is the organisations website: http://wikileaks.org/

The link below is for a video by WikiLeaks about WikiLeaks:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kbOibFK2ZpU&feature=player_embedded

A democracy is a society which is led by the people. Free speech is an integral aspect of democracy. Therefore, there needs to be a way in which people can express freely, without copyrighting another’s intellectual property. Creative Commons are designed to protect work from being copyrighted. They are specifically designed for the internet and the licenses are international (Doctorow, 2007). In terms of democracy creative commons licenses are a good thing, as well as being beneficial to the owner’s of material. Current legislation is simply not designed for the internet and not on an international scale. Creative commons offer an alternative to this. Here is a link to an article to find out more on creative commons: http://www.locusmag.com/Features/2007/11/cory-doctorow-creative-commons.html

It is not cheap protecting oneself from copyright. Whilst it is technically free to copyright your work, simply by creating it in the first place, to pursue reprimand for copyrighting ones work is not always affordable. The legal fees and time it takes can be a deterrence for seeing justice. The internet and communication technology have made a significant financial impact on a number of industries. A good example is the music industry. Many artists are left with nothing to show for their work because it is very easy to copyright their material using the internet. If people use their work to offer free speech, and the artist does not receive any profit from this, their livelihood is at risk (Electronic Commerce News, 2001). Therefore new communication technologies have a significant effect on the profits and costs of people affected by copyright and not just in the music industry, there are many other industries affected by this too.

In conclusion, there is conflict between copyright and freedom of speech. When discussing new communication technologies it is very conflicting and difficult for the correct balance between to be made. Both ideas limit each other and it is very difficult to regulate the issue. New communication technology has a significant impact on the conflict and is the main reason why it is difficult to balance both copyright and free speech.

Reference List

“ARTISTS, MUSIC INDUSTRY OFFICIALS DEBATE COPYRIGHT PROFITS”, 2001, Electronic Commerce News, vol. 6, no. 3, pp. 1.

COPYRIGHTS VS. FREE SPEECH: REGION Edition 2007, , Pittsburgh Post – Gazette, Pittsburgh, Pa.

Doctorow, Cory. (2007). “Creative Commons”. Locus Magazine Online.

Holland, Bill 2001, “Copyright act raising free-speech concerns”, Billboard, vol. 113, no. 21, pp. 1.

Loughlan, P. 2002, “Copyright law, free speech and self-fulfilment”, Sydney Law Review, vol. 24, no. 3, pp. 427.

Rothman, J.E. 2010, “Liberating copyright: thinking beyond free speech”, Cornell Law Review, vol. 95, no. 3, pp. 463.

WikiLeaks. “Julian Assange.” WikiLeaks. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Sept. 2012. <http://wikileaks.org/&gt;.

Wu, T. 2004, “Copyright’s Communications Policy”, Michigan Law Review, vol. 103, no. 2, pp. 278-366.

 

Wikileaks is dedicated to the freedom of information. The video below shows you a little bit more about what Wikileaks does.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kbOibFK2ZpU&feature=player_embedded

The Wikileaks website states that ‘WikiLeaks has combined high-end security technologies with journalism and ethical principles.’ This made me think straight away ‘is hacking ethical?’ or is hacking okay if it is for the good of the people. The organization aims to protect whistleblowers, which is a good thing. It also allows whistleblower information to become public rather than kept a secret.

Wikileaks has used the internet to essentially do what whistleblowers do. Would the organization be half as successful had it not used the internet. The answer is most likely no. Wikileaks is an example of how the internet has a very important role in communication. In an article by Stephen Stockwell he mentions how excited people were with the prospect of citizen journalism. Most would say that citizen journalism has successfully taken of the ground so where does this leave us with the prospect and emergence of citizen hackers. Stepehen Stockwell believes that ‘the time is now ripe’. Image

Sources

Stockwell, Stephen, “We’re all hackers now: Doing global democracy”, CreateWorld, AUC-Griffith University, 7-10 December 2008

Sign and E-petition

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Signing and e-petition was simple, I just had to give my full name and address and it was done! 

Respond to a Professional Blogger

I chose to respond to a blogger on a news site. I made a comment on the article, which was about breath testing students at formals. 

What is Barack Obama doing today?

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Barack Obama also invites you to give him feedback on his other tweets. Tweeting Barack is probably an easy way to get in contact with him. 

Australian Government Plans to Censor the Internet

The Australian government plans to censor the material Australian people can access on the internet. It will not allow people to access content on child sex abuse, sexual violence and instructions on crime. They will do this by banning URL’s with the help of international agencies.  

Censorships Place in Democracy?

Considering a democracy is supposed to be a government by the people and stands for social equality, is it contradictory that a democratic government wants to censor the internet. Essentially it could be considered hypocritical for the government to censor internet. 

NBN Benefits

The main benefit to the National Broadband Network is how high speed the internet is. Where I live, I will not receive the benefit until June 2015. 

Send Message to a Local Member

The local members in my area are:

Federal: Ross Vasta

State: Neil Symes

Council: Peter Cumming

I sent a message to my local state member about police in the area, due to being pulled over a number of times recently for no reason. 

I could not find any speeches he has made recently in parliament. (This member was only elected in the recent state election) 

 

There are many different types of social media available on the internet. Have a look at the mind map below to see the different types of social media.

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Social Media is an extremely popular type of communication technology. It is also extremely competitive between social media services, because each wants their service to be the most widely used. Social media is also constantly changing, which in turn has changed the way that we communicate. We now have instant and 24/7 access to social media services either via computer or even our mobile phone. Social media is a significant part of web 2.0, however will social media be around forever in some form?

Paul Sheehan writes ‘No brand is safe. Dominant one decade, irrelevant the next.’ This is an interesting comment because it sums up the lifespan of the social media industry. Social media brands are always modifying their product to ensure that they are competitive with other brands and extending the life of the product. This means the communication technology is constantly changing and developing. With all the different types of social media available there is something for everyone, which makes this form of communication technology so significant.

I am currently conducting a survey on social media, let me know what you think by completing the survey below.

<div id=”surveyMonkeyInfo”><div><script src=”http://www.surveymonkey.com/jsEmbed.aspx?sm=3ciZqC2tWG2qfDFGH1H7jg_3d_3d”> </script></div>Create your <a href=”http://www.surveymonkey.com/”>free online surveys</a> with SurveyMonkey, the world’s leading questionnaire tool.</div>

Findings from this survey:

1. Most people use social media.

2. They use social media multiple times daily.

3. Most people use Facebook and Twitter.

4. They use it to interact and communicate with friends and for entertainment purposes.

5. Most people have been using social media for about 4 years.