Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Week 9: Copyright and Creative Commons

The technological environment has made the world a very complex place to operate within. Over the past decades a significant shift in laws on public information versus copyrighted content has altered the way in which many industries do business. Advertising is one industry in particular that is affected by the changes brought on by copyright and creative commons as I will discuss and apply later in my entry.

The Copyright Act of 1962 established modern day copyright in Australia and changed the way in which content was reused and altered. Copyright is a form of protection for authors and producers of images, music, text and films. The legal protection of Copyright prevents other users from taking another persons material and using it for a commercial purpose or sharing the content without permission of the original owner (Australian Copyright Council, 2009). Alternatively, creative commons is a newer concept that essentially gives the public the opportunity to negotiate the use of material that someone else has created (Creative Commons, 2007) under four conditions which include: attribution of the content, non-commercial use, no derivative works and share alike which says that the users should use the content as they would their own material (J Brand 2009). Content which has been labeled, as a creative common is a form of information for the public good.

The introduction of Creative Commons was to eliminate three barriers that exist within copyright and intellectual property laws these include:

1. The difficulty for a person reusing to locate and negotiate with original content producers

2. The question of the rights and conditions placed upon a new user who is publishing content in a separate domain

3. “The extent to which existing copyright and intellectual property laws circumvent direct negotiation between content creators and prospective users of copyrighted material through the assignation of rights to content distributors (Flew 2008)

The Internet and the digitalisation of content have also been affected by copyright. “The advent of new computer and communications technologies has also obfuscated the distinction between product and process, a distinction which served as a practical limitation on a copyright owner’s right to limit access to the work” (Lai, S 2000). In addition to information being somewhat confused the new digital age has made the sharing or all information a lot easier to the public at a very low cost (Torresmans 2000).

As I mentioned earlier many industries have been affected over the past half-century by the copyright laws one of these industries is advertising. In a way advertising is benefitting from the introduction of creative commons. It makes content used in advertising more accessible and easier to gain approval for when the content being acquired has a creative common rather then copyright. Alternatively, when the advertisement is completed that in itself becomes a piece of copyrighted material owned by the agency that created it.

Information becomes a public good in advertising and marketing when the content is made a creative common, this gives the entire audience the chance to tweak, take ideas and use parts of the content as long as it is not for commercial use. Having the option to make ones own content a creative common provides greater opportunities and alternatives to creators and users without the consequences of using copyrighted material for other general and individual purposes. Finally, it has become evident that copyrighting advertising materials can be a valuable asset to the agency and the creators many clients and owners of content used in the advertising for example artists and photographers will have their own copyright or creative common policies to take into consideration.


Copyright In Advertising

I have included a list of question below that are often problems associated with copyright in advertising agency’s and the production of advertisements:

(Copyright and Advertising: A practical guide 1997)

a) We want to parody a song of a famous artist and use a “sound alike” artist to record the song. Can we do this?

b) I wish to include some work, which I created for my former employer in my portfolio. Can I do this or do I have to obtain their permission first?

c ) A client has asked me for all the computer disks and hard copies of work which I have created for them. Do I have to hand them over?

d) My client has gone to another agency and they have published advertisements, which are similar to the advertisements, which I created for them. Can I do anything to prevent them from continuing the campaign?

e) My client has been making their own media bookings rather than having me make the bookings on their behalf. This reduces the media commission and service fees that I receive. Can I do anything to prevent them from doing this?

f) How do I avoid having disputes about ownership of copyright with my clients?

g) My client has provided me with some material to work with which I suspect may infringe copyright. How do I protect myself against being held liable for infringement of copyright?

This video is an interview with an Australia IP and Copyright legal expert in relation the marketing and advertising materials