Copyright is a touchy subject, and with good reason. The law can be hard, but it is the law, and it is set in place to protect those who might not otherwise be able to. Fred von Lohmann’s essay ‘Your Intermediary is Your Destiny’ chronicles these legal challenges of online content and the ways one goes about supervising it. He details the difference between the traditional obligations to copyright and the modern obligations by comparing them to doormen and club bouncers.
Doormen are in essence, gatekeepers, whose sole function is to restrict person access based on rules and criteria. If you do not or cannot fulfil said-rules and criteria, you are not allowed inside.
On the other hand, bouncers as those guarding the Internet domain, only serve to step in when conflict arises. For as long as no one’s complaining, they look the other way. This is beneficial and protects online intermediaries who might otherwise get caught in a very complex (and expensive) copyright battle.
But sometimes I find myself thinking whether the conflicts of copyright are truly as serious as they make them out to be. What price do we pay for coming down hard on those who infringe copyright? And to what extent are we stifling new creative freedom while protecting the right of the creators? It is quite the conundrum and most certainly cannot be solved in one night, no matter how cups of tea I drink.