Napster bad.. beer good??

The advancements in technology have enabled users to copy other individuals work with ease. Though it may be a shock for you to hear that copyright is actually a relevantly knew legal term. Originally there was no copyright and ideas were part of the common domain and were copied quickly by others. The first appearance of copyright was in 1710 of the statute of Queen Anne, the owners were granted fourteen years of copyright ownership (Mitew 2013).
Obviously today we have copyright legislation implemented within our society, however, this copyright does not last forever unless it is stated as it is in the Blizzard End User License Agreement  (EULA) states ownership of material is held forever. Mitew (2013), stated in his lecture that the current US copyright law states that monopoly is held for 70 years after the author’s death and corporate authorship lasts 120 years after creation or 95 years after publication.

Though in today’s society we are seeing a new copyright issue. No longer is copyright only concerned with someone taking an individual’s idea and claiming it as their own; media companies now have to fear those downloading free music, TV Shows and movies. This is a current major copyright issue within the entertainment industry. A prime example was the file sharing site Napster which was sued by Metallica for sharing their music without permission or compensation.

The drummer from Metallica described this act as;

“It is sickening to know that our art is being traded like a commodity rather than the art that it is ” (Doan 2000)

Since this incident I have noticed that artists especially within the music industry, are now producing their music released to include limited edition merchandise if you purchase their album. Obviously an attempt to try and reduce the piracy rate on their music. A new program called Spotify has tried a new angle to try and reduce piracy by providing a service that allows their users to listen to music for free but not save the music to their devices. This effectively lets users listen to songs and then decide if they later on wish to buy it, I compare this to the old saying “try before you buy”. This program clearly is a step in a positive copyright direction as even Metallica has signed on  (Lee 2012) to let the site display their entire music collection rather than sue them.

Though as shown through the legal case between Cadbury and Darrell Lea Chocolates copyright can be a confusing area. Cadbury attempted to sue Darrell Lea under the Trade Practices Act stating that their use of the colour purple is misleading and that consumers may believe they are buying Cadbury (The Communications Council 2011). Of course this case was not won and it was stated that you cannot copyright a colour; colours are in the public domain (The Communications Council 2011). This case simply proves that copyright can often be tricky to estimate what is actually a copyrighted act.

However, with technology making it easier to copy individuals work (as essentially computers are copying machines), copyright is hard to combat and can often be complicated to decide what is actually a copyright infringement.

Have you committed copyright today?



The Communications Council, 2011, The colour purple sweet win for Darrell Lea, media release, The Communications Council, viewed 31/8/2013, <>

Lee, D 2012, ‘Spotify: Metallica ends Napster feud with new deal’, BBC News Technology, viewed 31/8/2013 <>

Doan, A 2000, ‘Metallica Sues Napster’, Forbes, viewed 31/8/2013 <>

Mitew, T 2013, ‘Intellectual property and content control’, prezi slides, DIGC202, University of Wollongong, viewed 31/8/2013 <>



3 thoughts on “Napster bad.. beer good??

  1. I always feel a little bad when I illegally download music, particularly from a decent band/musician. But like everyone else, I wouldn’t be able to access the amount of music that i do if I had to pay for ever single song. I figure I’ll make it up to them by seeing them in concert or something like that. I used to use spotify (found the constant interruption from ads too annoying to continue with). I guess the silver lining for artists is that copying increases the exposure to their music.
    Also, did not understand the comment from the drummer at all; mate, if people are paying for your music, that actually fits the definition of being “traded like a commodity” better than the file sharing and music streaming he was describing haha

  2. I find it funny reading this, It reminded me of my Copyright topic we did in Business studies back in year 12 for me. Each example you gave brang back memories as they were the same we heard in 2010. However, this did make me rethink my whole illegally downloading of stuff online. I do feel bad about it when I do and as people who can see my very small but very expensive CD collection, I am trying to give back to the artists I enjoy. I understand that copyright is a bad thing but it is so embedded in our minds as a normal everyday thing now because we all do it. If all the downloading and file sharing sites were taken off the internet all we would really have is all the porn and one website called bringbackillegaldownloads,com

  3. In my opinion its all a big lie. Musicians are richer than ever, record companies are richer than ever, and movies are breaking records left right and center. Yet illegal downloads are killing the industry? Musicians are brands, and people listening to their music makes their brand more valuable, if anything, they owe the public for listening to their music which making their brand valuable. Musicians make less than 1% off of their record sales, yet we are the ones who are made to feel guilty.

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