COPYRIGHT IN A DIGITAL, NETWORKED WORLD
In many ways, copyright—now over 200 years old in the United States—still serves us well. In other ways, however, copyright law is incredibly problematic in terms of our digital, networked world. Issues of remix, appropriation, and intellectual property itself change shape in digital realms. Authorship is murky across spaces like blogs and within databases that provide access to relatively acontextual material (e.g., Google Image Search). Techniques such as copy-and-paste are incredibly easy and work across software programs. Digital spaces and file formats also allow for the production and distribution of seamless, perfect copies.
There are thus a set of key, related issues for digital writers and intellectual property activists to consider in terms of copyright (and copywrong). There are, of course, persistent legal questions—and the underlying complexity of what Fair Use is, where and what the boundaries are, and if we should purposefully cross them to examine if they are in fact legitimate ethical lines to begin with, or merely boundaries to ensure that those who currently have power can keep it unchallenged. There are also the numerous gray areas to consider in authoring a work that relies on previous works. We address these gray areas more specifically by presenting our own work and reflecting on the copyright troubles our work poses. Casey's, Adam's, Grace's, Amy's, Jason's, Matt's, and Andréa's multimedia compositions, which are embedded in the pages that follow, include provocative work and ruminations on the potential effects of that work.