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Another example of copyright being used for censorship of views (FreeView Ad)
9th March 2009

I've just read this article http://smh.com.au/news/technology/biztech/youtube-yanks-freeview-parody-clip/2009/03/09/1236447116498.html and viewed this video (though that link may not work in the future) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q9JGdE-p4dQ.

On one side of the argument, companies are yet again using Copyright laws (which were originally designed to create incentive to create the work in the first place (though I'm not saying that that is true for our current laws, nor it should or should not be true (I'm not an academic...)) to hinder or stop speech. This is the opposite of free speech, this is censorship. I think that in this case this derivative work should be legal. I don't think that simply because one side does not like or agree with the views of another they should be allowed to censor the others argument. If this were so, then we could not debate an issue very easily.

Despite this I do understand the other side of the argument. They have copyright in a video, and they have not authorised this reproduction of the video. Full stop.

This is where I think the current copyright laws fail. But I can't see a simple solution in sight. Creative Commons helps, but only for works that creators have chosen that (or a similar) license. On one hand this sort of derivative work should be allowed, on the other if this use were legal what would then be stopping some one taking a full length feature film, adding a small logo to the bottom (similar to what TV networks do) and then claiming it is a derivative work and hence distributes it freely to all, counter with the copyright owner of the original work who is trying to get some money back to cover their expenses of the creation of the work. This is a tricky question because its a very subjective line that splits these two examples, so it would be difficult to have a law that works for both these cases.

Should this derivative work simply be allowed because the original work was freely distributed? I think not.

A concept I explored in this post, in my view would allow both parties to win, though unfortunately I don't see this type of economy becoming the main any time soon.

Though probably not a valid argument, but the video (not the audio) in question was a commercial. It was made in an aim to get as many people as possible to watch it. Pushing organisations to stop re-distributing it seems a bit against what the ad was made for doesn't it?

Tags: copyright.