Copyright is something at least barely familiar to everyone. We know that intellectual work is protected by copyright, we know we should not break these rules because in fact it is considered stealing, plus if we want our intellectual property to be protected then we should respect others’. In fact, it doesn’t always work like that, but what interested me more during our Copyright & Contracts lecture was if all these copyright laws are actually made just right to manage all the challenges of intellectual property.
So I started digging deeper into the issue. I won’t be able to cover the topic properly considering the word limit, however, I’ll try to at least briefly cover the issue. So, first, I’ll talk about the effect of patent and copyright on the early development of filmmaking industry in Hollywood. After inventing a working camera and the projector by Lumber in 1895, the patent holders for making and distributing movies including but not limited by Jenkins and Edison formed the Motion Pictures Patent Company, a cartel known as the Film Trust (Khairy, 2010).
After that, the organization considered themselves the only ones who were allowed to make and distribute films, suing everyone who tried to produce something on their own. “Illegal” movies were distributed in nickelodeons — and the confrontation between the Film Trust and their opposition (who would later become Universal, Paramount, Warner Bros. and others) led to an actual war which was fortunately won by those who fought for freedom of filmmaking (Wu, 2010).
Copyright laws might be very important, but even nomads some of them stop the progress and the development of creative media industries. No doubt, we should obey the copyright laws. However, we all should be aware that sometimes they might be changed for the industry to move on.
Khairy, W. (2010). Film History: The Motion Picture Patent Wars. The Cinephile Fix. Retrieved 21 April 2018, from https://cinephilefix.com/2010/05/22/film-history-the-motion-picture-patent-wars-2/
Members of Motion Picture Patents Company [Online image]. (2018). Retrieved from https://publishing.cdlib.org/ucpressebooks/view?docId=ft3q2nb2gw&chunk.id=d0e16683&toc.depth=1&toc.id=d0e16474&brand=ucpress
Nickel-Ext [Online image]. Retrieved from https://www.pghfilm.org/about-us/history/nickel-ext/
Wu, T. (2013). The master switch. New York: Vintage Books.