Where does the line get drawn?

February 6, 2008 at 7:33 pm (internet, Issues)

It seems to me that there are a lot of copyright issues in the artistic community lately.  The most memorable of these issues is the illegal pirating of music.  However, there are other copyright issues at hand, and they tend to get a little shadowy on what’s legal and what’s not.
Case 1: Music downloading

Most of us remember a few years ago when the music industry started heavily focusing on pirated music, what’s legal, what’s not, what to do about pirates.  As a result, sites like WinMX were shut down, sites like Napster became paid-for services, but some sites like BitTorrent and Limewire stayed afloat somehow.  In this case, it’s fairly obvious that yes, directly copying a song and distributing could be seen as thievery, because many people receive the music for free.

Case 2: Song Tabs

Another situation dealing with copyright issues in music is tablature of the songs.  Several years ago, there were three big tab websites: Ultimate Guitar, MXTabs, and Taborama.  In late 2005, tabs of copyrighted music were declared illegal, and some sites, like Taborama and MXTabs were taken down, while others, like Ultimate Guitar paid licensing fees.  The tabs were decided to be illegal because they were reproductions of songs being distributed for free.  Some sites fought this, and MXTabs, for example, relaunched in 2006, but has yet to fully open and make tabs available. 

Case 3: Craft Patterns

I was browsing a crochet forum when I came across this post.  While I was not surprised to see people trying to make money off other people’s patterns, it was still distressing.  As time wore on, the topic came across another forum distributing free translated patterns of other people’s free patterns.  This also became a big controversy.  On one hand, I don’t see why the people couldn’t just give a link back to the original pattern, which would alleviate any issues.  On the other hand, I have trouble seeing how translating an already free pattern for non-English speaking crafters constitutes such a big problem.

Where’s the line?


1 Comment

  1. Rick Hancock said,

    Ok, I’m trying to stay with you here….I’m not totally clear on what your blog is about, but I’m going to stick with it to see where you’re trying to take it.

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