I’m suspecting that RMIT is either lacking money to get the wanted lecturers to come in, or they’re just lazy. Whatever the reason might be, I’m not complaining as this gives me one more hour of sleep monday morning.But as a responsible student (who’s marks are getting worse for some strange reason, which is an issue I’ll address in another post) I still take time to watch and research the online material.
So this time the lecture was about Copyright and Creative Commons
Just to get straight to the point about Copyright.
Copyright law gives you the right to make copies. One would assume that this is logical for most people, but Shaun Miller repeated it about six times just to make sure.
Copyright gives you the right to copy your work, but it also prevents others from making copies of it. Then there’s the question of what can be put under the law of Copyright. Miller presented these options:
- Literate works (books, poems, scripts)
- Artistic work: paintings, photographs and sculptures
- Dramatic works: stage movements, choreographed
- Music works
And with the 20th century technology came a new field: subject matters other than works. This includes films, sound recordings and broadcasting
So I bet creative people (who for some reason isn’t introduced to copyright yet) are bubbling with curiousity of how to get this fenomenal protection of their work. Well, it’s surprisingly easy. As soon as you’ve made it, it is yours. By saying that I need to specify that it is not enough to make up an idea. If you tell a fellow filmstudent about your amazing idea, but haven’t written it down or filmed it, he/she can take it. This reminds me of what happened when I told Christopher Nolan about my idea of making a movie about people breaking into other people’s dreams to plant or steal ideas.. That bastard
Back to the subject. This is one of the conditions for what makes a work eligble for copyright: it has to be in material form. Miller described it as “any work you can drop on your foot” can be put under copyright law.
The other requirement is that it is original, and if you need a further description of that you’re a fool. Something that haven’t been made before, get it?
This is quite embarassing actually, now that I’ve been making subtle fun of people who doesn’t understand copyright. When I came to Australia I noticed that there wasn’t many good “wear-your-seatbelt” commercials (at least thet I have seen), while in Norway there are heaps. I actually thought I could take the idea and make an almost identical version of it, and then sell it and become a millionaire.
It is pretty effective, and a really good idea. However, it became clear in the lecture that even if it is made in a different country, it is still copyright. The reason for this is the internatiol treaty Bern convention. All signatory countires to that treaty (151 countires) own resiprocal copyright. If you own copyright in Australia it also incluedes all the other contries who is part of it. And btw, how is Bern just “a little city in Switzerland”? I think it is worth mentioning that it is THE CAPITAL.
Duration of copyright: In concept of works copyright last for 70 years after the creator has died. Copyright after death would go to his/her estate (closest relative?). Miller explained that the increasing amount of Jane Austen films is because the novels have now gone out of copyright.
When it comes to Subject matter other than work: copyright lasts for 70 years after the content was made.
This makes me wonder.. If a film is out of copyright after 70 years, don’t you have to take for example the scriptwriter into consideration? A script is considered a literate work, which means that it would be out of copyright 70 years after he/she has died. Or is it because the copyright was given to the production team in trade for money? I must try to remember this for the tutorial..
Miller also talked about how copyright is important so people will be encouraged to make creative works. If you didn’t receive any money on your first movie because everyone was copying it, would you be as inclined to make a new one?
These days it is so easy and so cheap to copy works that it is becoming an issue for people trying to make a living out of it.
I think this is a suitable time to introduce a little clip from South Park
Nah really, I see the point of copyright.. but still..
Fair dealing exeptions allows you to copy without copyright: even though someone owns copyright, there are certain cases where the law says that there is an overriding public good principle where you can copy it without permission.
- If you’re copying something in the purpose of study (ten% of the book)
- If its for the purpose of criticism. Show small excerpts.
- It is for reporting news. When Steve Irvin died news channels showed footage from the crocodile hunter. Didn’t need permission because of context of reporting news
- If it is parody. Satire.
Creative Commons is a movement that started in America, who believe in a free sharing society. Why should culture be restricted? They are for sharing, copying and even remaking of creative works, as this will create a more, as they call it, Free Culture. Free in terms of that you dont have to pay for it, but also that it flows freely, it is free for the public.
In some way it seems like a good way for people to share their works if they perhaps isn’t well known yet; if music were limited to only people who pay money for it I’m sure the industry would look very different today.
According to CC there are many creators who are willing to create works that are free for the public, and this can be seen in the endless music pieces, photos and videos online.
Personally, I don’t know what I would do if I ever were to make a movie. I guess that the first starter ones could be Cc, but it is an expencive industry if you don’t have any income. It is a tough question, but maybe someday everything produced will be free to use.
Just to finish of, here is something Miller said that I found useful in terms of copyright:
If you think it is worth stealing, then it is worth protecting
If anyone found it hard to follow my casual rambling, here’s the notes on Seth’s blog from the same lecture