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Copyright and Creativity - Essay Example

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Copyright and Creativity Introduction Under the US law, copyright protects the expression of an idea, but not the idea itself, that can be established in a tangible medium. Thus, this protection includes the rights to use, copy, distribute and perform, in the case of the performing arts, certain works and is exclusively granted to the copyright holder of the work alone…
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Copyright and Creativity
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Copyright and Creativity

It is purported that copyright primarily serves the end of encouraging creativity, because of the inspiration it provides to authors/writers/creators and would-be authors/writers/creators that will see creativity as an opportunity to gain economic advantage as well as an acknowledgment of their talent. This claim, however, is being contested by those who argue that artists have been churning out great works of arts for centuries without the benefit of copyright protection. Worse, there are those who perceive copyright protection as an unwitting tool for stifling creativity as illustrated by recent cases where works have been prohibited from seeing publication on the ground that they infringe the copyright law. The question that is being contemplated by this paper, therefore, is whether or not copyright protection encourages or stifles artistic creativity. Background The US Copyright Law has its roots in the 1710, Statute of Anne, an English law that ended the monopoly of the Stationer’s Company by vesting exclusive right of books to their authors for fourteen years, subject to renewal. After the American Revolution in the 18th century, several states their own copyright laws that took after the Statute of Anne, but the Constitutional Convention decided that a unifying law on copyright should be enacted nationally and thus, attached a clause mandating such passage in Article 1 of the proposed Constitution. The subsequent Copyright Act of 1970 copied the 14-year period of exclusive right to authors renewable for another 14 years and was made applicable solely to books, maps and maritime charts. Eventually, however, the US copyright law was broadened to cover other original works as well. In the Copyright Act of 1909, the coverage of the grant extended to all written works not only in the US but to various written foreign works as well. In addition, it extended the period of the exclusive right to 28 years, which is renewable for another 28 years. The next copyright law, i.e. Copyright Act of 1976 is the precursor of the present US copyright law. This Act eliminated many of the earlier features as well as added new ones. For example, it established a single period of exclusive right for all kinds of works, which is the life of the author plus 50 years, dismissed the formalities and made the right applicable the very moment the work becomes a concrete medium of expression. 1 Before the present consolidated US copyright law came into being, the Copyright Act 1976 went through various amendments and supplementations. These include the following: the Audio Home Recording Act of 1992, which added copyright grant to digital audio recordings; the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998, which extended the exclusive right to 20 years, and; the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998, which deals with high-technology works. 2 Features of the Present US Copyright Law Under the present US Copyright Law, which is denominated as Title 17 of the United States Code, the exclusive rights to reproduce, prepare derivative works, distribute copies, perform, display publicly and use in a digital audio transmission of works, are granted only to their authors or creators.3 The copyright grant covers only 8 kinds of words, and their respective derivatives, namely: literary ... Read More
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