Copyright challenges in the digital era
This article was first published on December 29, 2008.
Archaic printing press laws are antithetical to creativity in these times. The question is: was the legal shield of copyright invented to be used to discourage other creators or to provide publishers with control over subsequent creators? India can lead the world by crafting a new copyright law suited to the internet age.
Earlier this month, with the publication of The Tales of Beedle the Bard, a children's fictional book and plot device that first appeared in the seventh and last Harry Potter novel, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, avid fans who bemoaned the end of the series received some reprieve. Even though the series has ended, the slew of copyright cases prohibiting other creative expression around Harry Potter filed by the author, J.K Rowling, continues unabated.
Since copyright issues are often being obfuscated by legalism, the salience of the Potter series provides an apt opportunity for Main Street to infuse common sense into laws and demarcate the boundaries of copyright. Copyright is being expanded from a shield protecting authors from unscrupulous copying (through printing press technology) into a sword guaranteeing monopoly over the ideas, colonising adjacent markets, and inhibiting further creative expression.
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