International Law

Copyright in the Online Space

digital copyright laws

copyright lawsCopyright is an increasingly hot issue, particularly with the emergence of online media. In contrast to ages past when copies were physical things such as CDs, books, and other such media, the online space has made copying a tricky thing for authorities to keep up with. The problem stems, it can be argued, with the fact that copyright law has simply not kept up with the evolutions in technology.

Copyright Law Today

Copyright law is very old and has, in many cases, simply not been updated to suit the way that online media works. In essence, copyright laws afford a creator a creative monopoly which prevents consumers from being entitled to make any copies of their works or products. Back in the days when such things were harder to achieve and more easily tracked, this type of law was fairly effective, as it stated that anything other than an official piece of work was illegal. However, in the online space, most everything nowadays is a copy. Notably, consider the use of MP3 files for personal use. Recently, the UK ruled that its legalization of ‘ripping’ CDs for use on personal MP3 files was unlawful, as it created an illegitimate copy of the data stored on the disc. For a personal injury lawyer, this type of ruling is incredibly problematic in an age in which many are digitizing a large portion of their physical media – including films and books – to preserve them for use in the modern day.

What Can Be Done?

Recently, the EU has been making amendments to a set of European copyright laws, making provisions for such things as the ripping of files for personal use, as well as things such as Digital Rights Management (DRM) not restricting a users’ right to make private copies of content that they have acquired legally through services such as iTunes or Amazon Music. Should these amendments prove successful, it remains to be seen whether other countries such as the USA – who are notorious for their legal battles over copyright infringement – will adopt similar updates to their copyright laws in order to bring these centuries old laws into the digital age.

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