Copyright, Fair Use and Free Culture in the Digital Age of Sharing

Intellectual property rights are a hot-button issue with the invention of the internet and the sharing culture it is inherently driven by. 

Social media is the new wave of social interaction, where sharing your new favorite song or piece of art is near effortless. People don’t often stop to think that there are creators behind these pieces of content. While the internet and technology make appropriation, remixing, and sharing easier than ever it is creating pressure for companies and individuals to start asking some hard questions about ownership and public domain spaces.

Before the rise of the digital age, copyright law only protected large corporations and does to some extent still. 

Designers and artists on the frontlines in the early 1990’s formed a guild that sought to protect freelance creatives’ intellectual property rights to the fullest, advocating legislation that protected individual artist rights specifically. While the goal of this guild is the artist’s ultimate control over their own work, relying on copyright law to do that arguably has some flaws. It may be impossible to appeal to a legislative system that is currently built to the benefit of corporations over the individual. Corporate capitalism is built off of a system of ownership and intellectual property, creating a permission culture where information is put behind paywalls which create barriers to access. Free culture artists are interested in releasing art into the public domain with no copyright at all. They believe the open licensing makes their art easier to access and distribute, removing the restrictions that copyright places on their work. There are several free culture artists trying out this model with success. 

Could free culture be the new horizon in creative licensing?


Mancinella, M. 2013. Copyright Subject Matter and a Light for Designers' Rights. 29 Santa Clara Computer & High Tech. L. J. 523.  [ 36 pages, 523 to 558 ]

Elmahjub, Ezieddin, Suzor, Nicolas. 2017.  Fair Use and Fairness in Copyright: A Distributive Justice Perspective on Users' Rights. 43 Monash U. L. Rev. 274.  [ 25 pages, 274 to 298 ] accessed March 2018.

date posted: Mon April 16 2018 date last edited: Mon April 16 2018