Copyright Laws-Look but Don’t Touch


Copyright Laws-Look but Don’t Touch

Hello, I’m Ram Peow Loong Naidu or just Ram and this is my University assessment blog and the following is my take on Copyright or Copyright Laws-Look but Don’t Touch. In the third-fourth week class, we were introduced to “What is Copyright”

I learned in the lecture that copyright is a legal concept, created, enacted or introduced around the 18th century by the British, giving the creator of an original work, exclusive rights to it for a limited time. In general, it means the “the right to copy”, but it also grants the copyright holder the right to be credited for the work, determine who may adapt the work to other forms, who may perform the work, and who may financially benefit from it, as well as other related rights. Just like the patent, the trademark, and the trade secret, it is an intellectual property. “It is applicable to any expressible form of an idea or information that is substantive and discrete.”

According to Mitew “Copyright was introduced in 1710 with “The Statute of Queen Anne”, copyrights granted owners monopoly for 14 years. Its aim was to encourage learning, by vesting the copies of painted books in the authors, purchasers or publishers of such copies, during the times therein mention.  This led to intensive lobbying by publishers for the term of copyright period to be extended”  

The Berne Convention (1886) granted monopoly for at least 50 years after the author’s death. Current U.S. Copyright laws stipulate monopoly rights for at least 70 years after the author’s death, and 120 years after year of creation or 95 years after publication for corporate authorship. Hence, in the case of J.R.R. Tolkien – author of the famous Middle-Earth Legends, myths and/or sagas who died in 1973 – his books will be in the public domain in 2043. i.e. free copyright. United Artist founded by Charlie Chaplin owns legal copyrights to all the Pink Panther, Rocky, Woody Allen and James Bond movies.

The extension of copyright laws aka modern copyright can be credited to American corporations as most companies were owned by Americans at the time. For instance, Disney is the biggest lobbyist behind the expansion of the copyright laws. Other countries were pressured into accepting this concept as a standard.  The world’s biggest copyright owners are Disney, Time Warner, News Corp, Viacom and Sony Universal.  They own almost everything and work together.

Prior to 1710, anyone could just freely copy, modify, or sell content created by others whenever they like and the creators had no property or claims on their intellectual work.  Famous musicians, creators of artistic masterpieces, composers, writers, and sculptors such as Copernicus, Galileo, Shakespeare, Rabelais, Cervantes, Moliere, Da Vinci, Goethe, Schiller, Newton, Leibniz, Kepler, Bach, Handel, Beethoven, Mozart, Schubert, Vivaldi would all be easily copied and used freely, and their creators would never receive the fame they rightfully deserve, since their ideas would be considered public domains.

Copyrights limit convergence. According to Henry Jenkins “Convergence is the flow of content across multiple media platforms, the cooperation between multiple media platforms industries, and the migratory behaviour of media audience.”

In the Industry dynamics, there are different kinds of materials, contents and channels. Convergence follows Consolidation – the process of recycling material across different sources

for further references:

Breach of Copyright Laws

Sensation news- Samsung Company sued by Apple Company

According to the Telegraph (18 March 2012), in September 2011, Apple sued Samsung in the US in April, claiming that its products had been “slavishly” copied by its rivals. Samsung counter-sued almost immediately

For further references, please view



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The lectures also focused on the following:

Media conglomerate

A media conglomerate refers to companies that own large numbers of companies in various mass media such as television, radio, music and publishing. Media conglomerates are sometimes, but not necessarily always, controlled by even larger, more generalized conglomerates, which are involved in entertainment as well as other ventures.

Articalworld. org (2012), showed a List of largest media conglomerates. They are:

•General Electric (United States)

•Viacom (United States)

•Walt Disney Company (United States)

•Sony (Japan)

•News Corp (United States)

•Time Warner (United States)

•Hearst Corporation (United States)

•AT&T (United States)

•Bertelsmann AG (Germany)

•CanWest Global Communications (Canada)

•Lagardère Group (France)

•Liberty Media (United States)

•The Times Group (India)

•Vivendi Universal (France)

Read more:

Consolidation Model: Size and Scale

In business, consolidation often refers to the mergers and acquisitions of many smaller companies into much larger ones. It is hedge against risk and the consolidation model is based on size and scale of the product. There are risk mitigations and high cost of entry.

Economies of scale and integration of content and delivery

According to Investopedia (2012), Economies of scale refer to the increase in efficiency of production as the number of goods being produced increases. Typically, a company that achieves economies of scale lowers the average cost per unit through increased production since fixed costs are shared over an increased number of goods. 

Read more:

[Massive capitalisation=financial stability]


Scalability refers to the characteristic of a system, model or function that describes its capability to cope and perform under an increased or expanding workload. A system that scales well will be able to maintain or even increase its level of performance or efficiency when tested by larger operational demands.

Sometimes, a few hits outperform the rest by order of magnitude. For example Avatar [2009] costs about USD500 million – USD350 in production and USD150 in promotion – but it gained a revenue of USD300 billion.

Read more:


However, it is impossible to predict financial successes.  This unpredictability was exemplified by the movie Waterworld (1995) which cost a massive USD 235 million to produce and promote but received a miserly revenue of USD160 million.

Extended product life

Extended intellectual property rights serve as anchors to content, for example, blockbuster movies like Harry Potter, Batman, Pirates of the Caribbean and Lord of the Rings.

Copyrights Today

For example, Time Warner owns copyrights to the song “Happy Birthday”, so any performance of the song is a breach of their copyrights.

The content industry argues that a world without intellectual property would be a world without new ideas.

What can we do and what we can’t do

Anything not under copyright is in the public domain and can be copied or remixed freely. Fair use refers to a defence against litigation but is not a right. Fair use applies only for limited purposes. It can be defined by purpose and character of use, the nature of work being used, the amount of work used, and the effect of the use on the value of the original.  To censor undesired opinion, people have resorted to legal suits.  For instance, one can be sued for satirizing someone’s work as this is deemed to adversely affect its value.

Digital Millennium Copy Rights (DMRC)

This act makes circumventing DRM a criminal offence. It controls over access to content via licencing, encryption, spyware invasion software: SecuROM authentications

The objective is to restrict and control how you use the content, extend control over all primary and derivative content, enforcing the way you interact with the information. The end result is digital enclosure. This is akin to Microsoft controlling what you wrote in MS Word and claimed rights over it.

End User Licence Agreement (EULA)

These are binding legal contracts expanding beyond standard copyrights. If the user wishes to play a game, the player buys permission to play the game but does not own the copy of the game. An example of EULA is the Blizzard’s World of Warcraft.


A)    “All title, ownership rights and intellectual property rights in and to the Game and all copies thereof (including without limitation any titles, computer code, themes, objects, characters, character names, stories, dialog, catch phrases, locations, concepts, artwork, character inventories, structural or landscape designs, animations, sounds, musical compositions and recordings, audio-visual effects, storylines, character likenesses, methods of operation, moral rights, and any related documentation) are owned or licensed by Blizzard. The Game is protected by the copyright laws of the United States, international treaties and conventions, and other laws. The Game may contain materials licensed by third parties, and the licensors of those materials may enforce their rights in the event of any violation of this License Agreement.

B)    You may permanently transfer all of your rights and obligations under the License Agreement to another only by physically transferring the original media (e.g., the CD-ROM or DVD you purchased), all original packaging, and all Manuals or other documentation distributed with the Game; provided, however, that you permanently delete all copies and installations of the Game in your possession or control, and that the recipient agrees to the terms of this License Agreement. The transferor (i.e., you), and not Blizzard, agrees to be solely responsible for any taxes, fees, charges, duties, withholdings, assessments, and the like, together with any interest, penalties, and additions imposed in connection with such transfer.”

For further reading:

Free cultures

Lawrance Lessig defines free cultures as “cultures that leave a great deal open for others to build upon; unfree or permission cultures leave much less. Ours was a free culture. It is becoming much less so.”

Content control

In short, Scarcity = Value. Copyrights create artificial scarcity. The aim of industries is to control over content, idea as well as all information.

However there is no scarcity inherent in digital data and no cost to copying it. In fact, every digital operation involves copy right. Every time you go online your computer copies everything you encounter. In fact the internet is possible only because its core protocols – TCP/IP are free and in the public domain. In the words of Clay Shirky, “The Internet imposes no barriers to entry, no limits on supply.” Kevin Kelly explained that when copies are available freely, you need to sell things which cannot be copied. Bill Gates opined that “if people had understood how patents would be granted when most of today’s ideas were invented, and had taken out patents, the industry would be at a complete stand still today.”  

Industry versus prosumers, copyright material versus participatory cultures, closed versus open.

Content Dynamics: The Emergence and Rise of Mass Social Media.

These are either under institutional control or individual control.  The former include traditional media such as televisions, movies, radios, prints, media outlets, newspapers and magazines.

Social Media comprise podcasts, blogs, forums and wikis. 


These are either aggregators or distributors.

i)  Aggregators

a)      Amazon

b)      Netflix

c)      Google

ii) Distributors

a)      Disney

b)      Time Warner

c)      News Corp

d)     Viacom

e)      Sony Universal

Ultimate, there is only one winner.


“The most powerful and sexy and well love lobbies really has as its aim not the protection of “property” but the rejection of a tradition. Their aim is not simply to protect what is theirs. Their aim is to assure that all there is is what is theirs.” Lawrence Lessig.

Creative commons

Creative commons allows flexible licences with some rights reserved

Open Source and Free Software

These include Android, Apache, Linux, MediaWiki, Mozilla, firefox, Mozilla Thunderbird, OpenOffice, WordPress, 7-Zip, Symbian

Creative Commons Licences

They encompass: Attribution

i)                    Attribution Share Alike

ii)                  Attribution No Derivatives

iii)                Attribution Non-commercial

iv)                Attribution Non-commercial share alike

v)                  Attribution Non-commercial no Derivatives

vi)                Attribution No rights reserved

Reference lists


BCM112: Convergent Media Practices Topic 1- Introduction to Convergence

Date: 23rd Feb 2012

Hello, my name is Ram Peow Loong Naidu and this is my University assessment blog and I will mainly discuss about the subject topic CONVERGENCE MEDIA PRACTICES and my some of my personal opinion. In the first week class, we discuss about the introductory topic which is “What is convergence”

According to what I have learnt, convergence is the coming together of several elements, such as various platforms, media technologies, and entertainment. Convergence also refers to the removal of entry barriers at various intersections of media “digital” or “non-digital”, technologies, industries and audience. It is an on-going process and encompasses conceptual and technological histories as well as different forms of convergence. Convergence provides analytical tools for studying media convergence.

According to Henry Jenkins, a famous American media scholar, “There are multiple forms of media convergence leading us towards a media renaissance, a period of transition and transformation that will affect all aspects of our lives”. Jenkins added that convergence is the flow of content across multiple media platforms, the cooperation between multiple media industries and the migratory behaviour of media audience.

Convergence also plays a role in the ever expanding evolution, progression and development of civilization.

Alvin Toffler, the renowned futurist, postulated the three waves of civilization.  He identified a “First Wave” which involves an agricultural progression of civilization which progressed into an industrial “Second Wave”.  The latter saw the convergence of many industrial elements, among them, telecommunication, media, services, multi-media, hardware, software, information technology and consumer electronics. 

The “Second Wave” culminated in a technological progression of civilization which Toffler termed the “Third Wave”. The latter is based on mind rather than muscle.  This is the information or the knowledge age. The “Third Wave” or Technology progression involves the coming together or convergence of digital technology, internetworking and teleworking technology creating an interactive or network or system via new and smaller terminals.   The “Third Wave” is also characterised by a market convergence whereby entertainment combines with information giving rise to Infotainment.  Likewise, entertainment merges with education, giving us educational entertainment.  Similarly, education has formed an alliance with information to create infocation.  All these elements converge creating new opportunities and new markets with new rules of the game.

My Tweets

Convergence Media Tweets