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Argument and Analysis: Copyright and the 1St Amendment - Essay Example

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McLeod uses many different examples, domestically and internationally, to prove his point. Though McLeod rightly claims that our rights under the 1st Amendment have been curtailed through a rise in copyrighted material, he is wrong to include in his arguments gathering and protection of personal information for homeland security purposes. Developments in the use of copyright have privatized previously public information and technology. According to McLeod, privatization of available knowledge and technology has progressed so much, that even the radio spectrum has been sold off by the Western governments, despite the fact that the electromagnetic spectrum used be at disposal to everyone (226). Even pictures of famous buildings, such as the Chrysler Building in New York City, are copyrighted (McLeod 230). Artists are not allowed to use them as part of their larger work without paying fees under the copyright law. Thus, copyright laws hinder their freedom of expression. Moreover, privatization has gone so far that even previously public spaces have been privatized. In 2003, the American public was preparing for another Gulf War. Steve Downs, a lawyer, entered the Crossgates Mall in Albany in order to shop as usual. However, he was soon arrested for trespassing as he wore obscene material on his T-shirt, which called for peace on Earth (McLeod 227). McLeod himself handed out copies of the 1st Amendment at another mall (227 – 228). The mall had a policy prohibiting solicitation of any type, both outside on the parking lot and inside the mall (McLeod 228). However, McLeod argues that he was entitled to such action as he was informing the public about their rights and was not selling anything. Previously public squares and parking lots, thus, are no longer spaces where individuals can practice their 1st Amendment right. Prohibition of any activity around, or in the malls and private companies, has led to a destruction of spaces once used by protestors. An extreme development is the “free speech zones” during the 2002 Winter Olympics (McLeod 229). Protestors were not allowed to voice themselves on any public ground, unless it was dedicated to such activities. However, in some states public lands prohibit trespassing arrests. In South Carolina, where still available, these spaces serve as protectors of the 1st Amendment (McLeod 229). Nobody is allowed to be apprehended for trespassing or any type of exercise of the 1st Amendment on public grounds (McLeod 229). Moreover, the federal government openly supports infringements upon the 1st Amendment. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act authorized companies to send “take down” notices to anyone using their copyrighted material (McLeod 238). These companies, however, as already mentioned, violate the 1st Amendment rights of many artists and hinder innovations. Despite fair use practice, consumers of the copyrighted materials are at a disadvantage. Fair use enables consumers to freely use and distribute parts of copyrighted material for nonprofit educational purposes (Public Law 112 – 131). However, important members of society, such as artists, are excluded from fair use rules (McLeod 231). Because they are a small and economically weaker group, they cannot sue companies protecting their buildings. McLeod argues that ...Show more


Name Professor Name Class Date Argument and Analysis: Copyright and the 1St Amendment According to McLeod, the corporate world has led developments in copyright law, which favors curtailment of fair use. Fair use is another side of the copyright law, which aims to protect innovations by encouraging them through reproduction and use of parts of copyrighted material (Public Law 112 - 131)…
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Argument and Analysis: Copyright and the 1St Amendment essay example
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