This has weighed on me for years and I’d really love some forward-thinking lawyers to weigh in on the future of such protections. I can’t conceive of how the digital economy, powered by the internet (where everything is copied and shared on purpose), can conceivably sustain legal protections requiring enforcement by government.
Everything online is immediately accessible globally: music, photos, video, written content, social media posts, films and television shows – when a digital version is created, it is copied and available in any country in the world.
Society has attempted to put technology in place to protect works – such as an IP address identifying the country of a consumer (and blocking access to content to that consumer). But technology also evolves to find workarounds, technology accelerates making it futile to keep ahead of it, and technology is easily overcome with something as simple as a screenshot.
Regardless, the government and law enforcement of different countries need not care at all about the laws yours. While technologies can try to maintain ownership or the originality of works, what might be done about the fact that hundreds of countries have their own laws? That BILLIONS of people hold no regard for yours?
Is paying for such protections futile? Justify it. How will companies or creators protect themselves from liabilities in 194 other countries? How can any smaller company or creator conceivably meet the laws or defend ownership of IP in hundreds of places??
I’m not a lawyer but I do have strong feelings on this subject as a content creator and writer. With the saturation of IP that the digital age has allowed a wild west of sorts has formed in regards to ownership. I think it is $#%&ing awesome that the tools and resources for creation have been democratized in such a way to allow so many people to explore their creative side. That said, the point of protection of IP is a huge issue.
I think the futility of paying for protections comes down to a case by case basis today. It’s subjective, but some art is better suited for protection than others. I personally weigh the marketability of a work and base protection on it.
I believe we have a few moral and technological options to explore.
- Blockchain Tech – Using a blockchain we can place a digital signature on works that will always be tied to it’s creator. I feel that this may be a great option after the lunacy and rowdiness of the crypto space calms down.
- AI Assisted Tracking – The use of AI to track potential infringement or theft of IP. This is of course when the AI isn’t busy creating its own art. 🙂
- Sanctions – In the case of a nation like Russia who has removed all copyright laws to allow for the open theft of IP, treat the situation like the theft of a tangible resource and use sanctions to deter such theft. Considering culture and IP has been our biggest export of the last 50 years, it should be treated as such.
- Artist Exposure – If you made something, show it off and talk about it a bunch. Connect your work to you through your personal brand… constantly. This is a great opportunity for an artist to bring on PR / agency.