With the incipient vivid advancements in Information Communication Technology (ICT), the Internet has befallen into a prime source of the dissemination and propagation of intellectual property. The Internet not solely has transformed the traditional rules that governed the distribution as well as dissemination of information, but has continually brought about great challenges to the customary business models and procedures in addition to altering the legal enforcement of copyrights. This development in the digital technology has significantly abridged the cost of making multiple copies leave alone facilitating the dissemination of online materials. Though massive conveniences have been imminent, widespread piracy has continued to undermine the copyright requirements more distinctly in the entertainment sector (music, movies, computer games) not mentioning the publication copyrights on books, scientific papers and many other academic publications. As we embrace these advancements, the emergent question is on how intellectual property will be protected so that the masterminds behind such creative resources benefit optimally from their work. Undoubtedly, this technology simplifies numerous daily aspects of life and activities; however, it has unfortunately manifested convenience to piracy simply put as violating United States copyright decrees.
Every now and then, most of us have fallen to be perpetuators of this uncalled for doing for instance downloading copyrighted materials such as music through peer to peer networks violating rights of artists who supposedly ought to uphold control on any form of production or distribution pertaining their creations. This infringement literally hurts artists fiscally and may as well disillusion future creativity or innovations. As consumers may complain of high costs of original productions, the bottom line is; illegal distribution and reproduction ought to be checked. This study seeks to analyze the copyright defaulting and associated problems then finally propose some possible solutions that can cut down these illegal actions in the United States through an assessment of the prevailing conditions as stipulated by the copyrights act.
Review on the Background of Music copyright in United States
Since the enactment of the copyright decree in 1976 by the congress, it was imminent that the initial copyright o f any music principally belongs to the composer and in any case; the copyright is created automatically once the composition is set or fixed on any form of tangible medium as a way of expression. This conventionally implies that the setting is for instance writing on paper or by simply entering the music in a form of file or just a computer hard drive. The obligation mandated for the composer is to clearly include the copyright notice (on the title page) entailing the words copyright or its symbol; the production year in addition to the composers’ name (Standler, 2009). Though initially optional, the United States’ joining of the Berne Convention attached some incentives on inclusion of the statement with no disadvantages when included. Important to note further is that before the artist opts to display the composition to the public for the very first time (for instance posting on the internet prior to the first open performance), he or she ought to register the copyright with the United States’ copyright office.
This is as well optional but seeing it through is bound to put the artist in a brawny legal position whenever his or her composition will be plagiarized. Additionally, in cases of sheet music, the composer will typically sell half or even all the copyright to the publisher of the sheet music as part of an accord to publish the original creativity. Furthermore, when one has to purchase the music, the law has it that one will only posses the sheet or CD but not the music itself. To make a copy, post on the internet, perform derivative work, or even perform the music to the public (for instance in unlawful auditions or concerts) or record the music are all forbidden by the law. The noticeable exceptions include classroom or school performance principally for nonprofit undertaking, (audience may pay for entrance fee to be used for charitable work) and performance at worship ceremonies. The lingering question is whether each one of us is upholding these requirements as stipulated in the enactment.
Assessment of the prevailing copyright conditions in the United States
Currently, most of the copyright owners’ trepidation is that the application of these novel technologies and advancement of the information technology is bound to undermine their rights as concerns their creativity. For instance, technology has intensely prejudiced efforts aimed at taking control of their copyrighted material. Most of them now believe that the initial provisions of the act are persistently losing ground and conspicuously perceived to be toothless on protecting their rights against the internet. Some have even opted to apply the technological measures as a way of defending their exertions. Contrary, these measures have proven wanting.
According to Tian (2005), he argues that as soon as the production industry seals the products’ copyright, for instance under a protective software wrap, the hackers are readily waiting to restore any form of these protections rendering them freely accessible by any person. In light of this, it is proven that technical protection is not quite adequate as fur as protecting the contents is concerned. This is why most of the copyrighting organizations have realized that the technical option is not working stepwisely opting to seek legal assistance from both global legislations as well as domestically.
It cannot however be completely ruled out that no efforts are in place to curb these vices. For instance, these concerns raised by the copyright organizations were somewhat extensively scrutinized and given a relieve consideration during the international conference organized by the world intellectual property organization acronymic to WIPO. This was held in Geneva in the year 1996. It is from this sitting the duo of treaties was proposed for adoption aimed at curbing the relentless effects poised by the digital technology on copyrights. The two were on copyrighting and performance and phonograms acronymic to WCT and WPPT respectively. Have they really yielded the intended purpose? If not, what is the best way out of this?
Further assessment unravels that government efforts to protect the copyright holders and their compositions have been established. With an understanding that abuse of the copyright decree impairs the hard work of artists, the governments have had to step in by continually overseeing the introduction of new technologies on the market as mandated by the constitution. In this regard, the congress has got the power to encourage and enhance scientific progresses in addition to valuable artistic works by way of sheltering for limited time to authors as well as provide exclusive rights on their innovations such as writings and compositions. This is a provision set aside for the congress which promotes provision of incentives targeting continuous innovations as well as creativity.
This is aimed at protecting the music, written works, movies and many other innovations through implementation of stringent laws and regulations to govern any kind of publications globally. This assessment reveals that indeed efforts are in place to counter the emergent issue. International concerns have been raised with majority of the concerned actors taking substantial steps towards curbing internet plagiarism and piracy. The tricky is the daily technological advancements that hinder persistence of the laws in place from effectively executing their projected purpose. This calls for other solutions.
The proposed remedies to music copyright
With the onset as well as ensuing rising incidence of the Internet, micro-breaches of copyrights more specifically on creative artistic exertions such as music and films have been identified in the aforementioned assessment attaining a dramatic rise day in day out. However, this activity may call for micro-payments which present a model that is bound to curb this vice that has continually reduced revenue from the industry as well as aid the copyright holders. For instance, without any kind of tangible media such as a CD provided online, there could be no incumbent costs required for packaging or shipping as well as on stocking shrinkage and returns. Thus minimal or even no capital will be tied to this kind of inventory (Milton, 2009). This way though, reduction in the music industry may be encountered but fatality to the recording industries will be cut down. For any internet-based music consumer, it is easier to download the item than look for a CD since he or she is bound to experience extensive alternatives to choose from, there is flexibility not to mention the time the item can be purchased.
Thus, through micro-payment, such services are brought nearer to a willing client who can purchase the music online. However, this will call for other supportive measures in place. For those composers of the music and the sheet, the major thing they have to partake is to maximize the revenue amounts channeled from cross subsides on advertisements and exploit the use of services from the likes of iTunes but be ready to pay. This way, they may purchase the artistic items though cheaply but reasonably than it can be when just distributed freely on the internet. The guiding principle is that utmost eradication of piracy is somewhat impossible but micro-payments will help.
The second prime solution is continued formulation and review of the existing laws in addition to their stringent implementation as stipulated even by the international community. For instance, as regards the matter on technological fortification measures, every article by the WIPO Internet Treaty obligates the members to prohibit any form of circumvention on technical measures that are put in place with intent to protecting copyrighted exertions. This implies that the governments have a powerful mandate that is internationally recognized which should be put to practice. As a response, the congress passed the legislation that protects all copyrighted work as well as providing utmost protection for technological approaches that are aimed at controlling access to a given data base thus promoting the rights of the composers.
This in essence implies that an efficient technological counter taking on access control to a given website can be in a form of a password page for the same database website for instance the home page. This will further imply that for any individual indenting to access the site will be required to register initially through payment of some licensing fee. As exemplified by the Westlaw home page access, the account is simply deactivated when payments are not met. In light of this, an account belonging to an individual who has not paid is deactivated thus not able to access the data base hence no item. Such a measure requires collaborative initiatives both from the composers, site developers and owners as well as the government enforcement. The composers should be willing to part with some of the revenue collected to pay the website owners, who are obliged by law to protect the received content. The government comes in as a watch dog with core intent of implementing the law on any defaulter.
Another legal proposal is that all the devices produced should be checked before released to the market. This device ought to be principally developed or designed to circumvent the access controls. This implies that by targeting the innovators, their devices will be checked and even be reset so that they allow for protection of copyrighted music. The lingering impediment here is the existence of hackers! To optimally deal with the hackers, legislation has to permit for immediate blocking of any sites that will be identified to be offering pirated music. When such sites are blocked, the responsible developers will have to face stringent lawful actions with demand that they put their resourceful innovations to legitimate uses. Though this has been for a long time been provided by the law, numerous cases have been overlooked rendering the fight against piracy a nightmare.
Finally, two types of infringers are imminent as fur as copyrights are concerned. These are the propellers who develop devices or a software that enhances easy and quick sharing of copyright exertions and the secondary (but primarily the leading infringers) that are found acquiring and using the exertion. As aforementioned, the propellers can be dealt with through online control by use of passwords and counterchecking of the software, but the troubling population are the secondary defaulters. According to the registrar of copyrights Marybeth Peters (2003), the copyright decree recognizes that those who abet as well as support copyright breaching are no less blameworthy than the direct defaulters themselves. To deal with this, use of a centralized data center to monitor the ip-addresses that download pirated music will abet the problem. Additionally, minimizing on the production cost will help reduce market prices thus curb defaulting.
It is evident that copyright issues have drastically reduced the revenue collected from the industry. The government through the Congress and the Copyright society has done exemplary efforts to counter the issues. However, the advents that describe continued advances in computer technology have continually undermined these efforts. This study proposes micro-payments, stringent legislation, reduced pricing and website protection (passwords) as key solution to this otherwise troubling scenario.