Posted by: robertheinz | November 5, 2012

Good-bye copyright?

Napster, Rapidshare, and other file sharing services have threatened the role of copyrights in our society in the past, but the biggest challenge is yet to come. Some tech writers believe that the next attack on our current understanding of copyrights will be three-dimensional.

If you follow the thought of Chris Anderson (Wired magazine, issue Oct. 2012), desktop-sized 3-D printers that are easy to operate might change current business models and turn all of us from consumers into makers! But Anderson doesn’t stop there. He argues that 3-D printers will launch the next industrial revolution. The digital on-demand and customization culture that has revamped the face of our media landscape might change the way products are made too.

Anderson’s idea raises plenty of questions and red flags regarding copyrights and fair use. But consider, that since the Copyright Act of 1976, the legislation has evolved and nowadays “more of the world around us is copyrighted than ever before” (Aufderheide & Jaszi, 2012, p.3). So it seems likely that our perception of what should be copyrighted and what should be part of the public domain may change again.

Will the role of copyright and fair use change with technological innovation, like the media did? What if the biggest asset to an economically competitive market won’t be its natural and human resources anymore, but its liberal copyright law?

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