The Plus Side of the Safe Harbor


SafeharborAlthough the DMCA is a harsh restriction on the distribution of material using the Internet, it is the only measure that we currently have in place to protect the work of artists, researchers and creators in general. “Despite vocal opposition, controversy and fear-mongering, the DMCA does have significant support, and not only from the corporate and entertainment world. Among the proponents are artists, business executives, and many judges and lawmakers.”(pbworks) Without it content could be distributed at virtually no cost the user and no contribution to those who produced the content. “For copyright holders, the law provides a mechanism for obtaining the removal of infringing material on the web in a low cost, simple manner.”(socalinternetlawyer)

Basically, the biggest benefit of the act is that copyright holders and Internet Service Providers can resolve copyright infringement issues without having to go through the time and resources required to pursue a trial if they abide by the standards set out in the DMCA, namely taking the content down or proving the right to provide it.

It is also important to address the fact that it is expensive to produce professional media content, whether it be a Hollywood blockbuster or an album, a lot of time, effort and resources go into that. If content is accessed for free, corporations cannot make the return on their investments, which is necessary in order to produce the quality of media goods demanded by today’s consumers.

This debate comes down to a fundamental ideological difference, and this is what makes the philosophy of the DMCA such a controversial topic. The Internet was built on open-source model that viewed the medium as a creative commons for expression and creation and that model is under threat by the so-called “publishers model” that some say is necessary for the regulation of fair trade and a regulated market on the Internet.

“Whereas the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), Free Software Foundation (FSF), and many academics view cyberspace as a “creative commons,” not everyone does. The CEO of the Association of American Publishers (AAP), Patricia Schroeder “Technology is not a creative tool. It is a high quality copier of the works created by others.”

Clearly, Patricia Schroeder has never had to learn the skills necessary for digital production, nor worked with the tools necessary for such production because to say that technology is not a creative tool is a gross misunderstanding of what “technology” means. A camera is technology, a high quality copier, but by Schroder’s definition photography and film cannot be art, cannot be creative means for production. Painting is merely a means of reproduction done by the technology of a a paint brush, is this too just another tool for copying the work of others?


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