April 9, 2007

fair use?

Mills asked an interesting question in his comment on Nicole’s post:

Being a photographer, what would you feel about people using an image that you shot as a personal background?

The backgrounds on my computer and my phone are pieces I found on websites maintained by artists I like. This is the phone:

Phone "desktop"

The squid is by R. Stevens, who creates the webcomic Diesel Sweeties. His site explicitly said it was okay to use this as a background or icon.

White MacBook desktop

This critter is from one of Steven Burke’s several art sites — all of which state “all rights reserved.”. I enjoy the piece, I don’t publicly display it, I don’t profit from it, and when people occasionally ask me what it is I point them toward his work. He’s gained a tiny bit more traffic because of it, and perhaps one of those people will tell someone else who might commission a work for actual money.

So the questions for you folks are: Is my use of this piece a violation of copyright law? Am I morally wrong to use this piece as a background? (Take note: those are not necessarily the same question.)

April 8, 2007

Facebook + TV = New Reality Series?

As I was watching TV this weekend and relaxing, I saw a commercial for a new reality TV series that MTV (I believe) and Facebook is now taking videos for. This series is called Facebook Diaries, and people send in this video about a life in a day for them and viewers then vote on which video, or person they would want to see on this show. Feel free to check out the website at Thought it was very interesting how now Facebook is choosing a different channel to target to.

April 5, 2007

parody, interpretation, or theft?

I found this blog of examples of businesses copying street art/independent designers' images without crediting the source: You thought we wouldn’t notice.

And here's one specifically about Urban Outfitters "re-interpreting" others' designs and selling them:

Finally we have this article , about Banksy and Dangermouse altering and restocking Paris Hilton CDs.

Are these violations of intellectual property rights? Is it more acceptable to use someone else's idea if it's for art's sake, or for making money? Or are they equally wrong (or not wrong)?

I said it first!

Intellectual Property, as this week's readings have described, is a growing concern for many individuals. How are we supposed to give credit where credit is due if we are unable to limit the usage of our creations. The answer, I believe, will not be found using our current sociological system. Capitilism is about creating enterprise and oppurtunity through your own or combined works. The credit is given to the individual and therefore the individual is rewarded monitarily. I don't deny that individuals should receive credit for their own works. However, as my college days have shown me, we are all in this world together. The creation of the internet and the ability of intellectual property to be spread throughout the world in a blink of an eye sheds light on a new coming of age. Global expansion has given many countries the opportunity to create growing economies and with that, increased knowledge. We need to look at the use and recreation of our intellectual property as a way to better our own quality of life. Yes, someone may elaborate on your budding idea, or someone may remake your invention. But, if that helps in lifting one man up from the depths of poverty, who could deny that it isn't for good.

Is it possible to have a original idea anymore?

In regards to “intellectual property? and the Internet, I agree with Barlow that we will have to “develop an entirely new set of methods as befits this entirely new set of circumstances.? “Intellectual property law cannot be patched, retrofitted, or expanded to contain digitized expression? (Barlow). It’s hard to say what “intellectual Property? means when you are participating in collaborative work online, such as what we did on Wikipedia. Theoretically, the minute you write something down it is yours, you own it. But when working in a collaborative setting when people are constantly changing, adding to, deleting, and/or editing your work online does it then who owns that work? I am an amateur photographer and there I have certain photographs I won’t put online. I don’t want someone to take my image and change it into their own work. However, in the long run this decision may hurt me as a photographer. It is becoming more and more popular and common for photographers to put their profiles online so people can see their work to either buy it or decide if they want to use that photographer. The only way to try to deter people from taking your images is to splash text over your image stating “this image belongs to…? which can take away from the image and defeat the purpose of having it online for people to see.

I really like the idea of Creative Commons. I am now very curious to find out more about it. I really hope this is utilized more in the future. I think if the creator is willing to share their work with other people than it should be available for their use. I personally do not download music online, but I think it should be up to the artist, not the record label if the music is available online for free download.

“It can be that easy when you skip the intermediary.?

Wow! This week is, by far, the most interesting group of readings we have read (in my opinion of course!) I really never think about how the Internet creates such a dilemma for so many artists, writers, musicians, professors and other professionals. For example, the book Bound By Law can be found online at Wasn’t this a textbook that we were to purchase? Why would I pay money when I can get it for free online?
Even though I think intellectual property rights are important and should be respected, I do not know a solution (better than CC) for those who want to protect their work. Because, even with CC those creating a work still have to check every single work they want to use to see what rights are reserved and which are not. As well, what if you come up with an idea that you think is yours, but someone else already thought of it and “CC?ed it or even “C?ed it. Barlow hit the nail on the head with “If our property can be infinitely reproduced and instantaneously distributed all over the planet without cost, without our knowledge, without its even leaving our possession, how can we protect it?? The answer or solution maybe in the videos I watched about CC, but I do not think enough people know about this and there will always be individuals who do not know they are using someone else’s idea. Likewise, there are also those individuals who just pretend like none of this is happening. Again, Barlow hits it right on with “Legal efforts to keep the old boat floating are taking three forms: a frenzy of deck chair rearrangement, stern warnings to the passengers that if she goes down, they will face harsh criminal penalties, and serene, glassy-eyed denial.? I love the serene, glassy-eyed denial. Managing this effort is a bear and I don’t think enough politicians are actively involved or care enough about it.
I don’t download music myself, but I do know people who use limewire or other programs to download music. It just doesn’t seem right to them to pay a dollar or more for a song when it is free somewhere else! Obviously this logic is bad because they are still stealing, but when it is so anonymous online, it doesn’t feel as wrong.
I think collaborative work is so great and wouldn’t want the threat of breaching copyright laws to stop individuals from sharing their thoughts. It is my firm belief that the Internet is where shy people can work together more freely because of the anonymity, access to so much information and ideas, and ability to communicate quickly. The creative commons videos cracked me up, but I like the quote that went something like “we can stand on the shoulders of our peers. Like I stated before, this helps the collaboration process. The other tagline was something like from Creative Commons was “It can be that easy when you skip the intermediary.? The middleman is so unnecessary in this IP battle and CC is probably the best solution to it. Creative Commons has created a solution (although not perfect) to avoid the government’s copyright policies. Remember, “If a C is like a red light, a CC is like a green light.?

since you brought it up...

Since Kelly mentioned the Vanilla Ice copyright scandal from way back in the day, I’ve dug up the videos for you. The similarity of the intros should be pretty immediately obvious once you start playing them.

The immortal “Ice Ice Baby”:

“Born Under Pressure” by Queen and David Bowie:

(This is such a flashback to my 9th grade year!)

April 4, 2007

creative commons: copyright's cool younger sister

I think that on a collectively authored thing like Wikipedia, a contributor is knowingly putting their work out there with the expectation that people are going to use, alter, and benefit from it without compensation. My sense is also that if these authors were capable of/interested in trying to make money from their writing, they would pursue that rather than writing for a wiki.

Copyright seems to be used mostly to protect profit rather than motivate creativity. How strange that there was not an easy way to opt-out of this before Creative Commons, the assumption being that every creator wants to profit from, or take credit for everything s/he does. The only similar thing I’ve seen is in zines (little homemade magazines); sometimes authors put an anti-copyright sign on the inside cover. Creative commons does a good job of publicizing the idea that it’s okay to not make a buck at every possible opportunity. As a character in Bound By Law explains, “Demanding payment for every use can hinder the very creativity that copyright is supposed to encourage.? (Aoki p.58)

Barlow tells us that the digital age has changed the way we ought to think about "owning" information. He argues that old intellectual property laws are neither sensible nor enforceable (since they’re centered around the physical manifestation of ideas rather than the ideas themselves), and that an entirely new set of laws is what’s needed to protect/ support "soft" products. Barlow points out that freely-moving information can be just as lucrative, if not more so, than tightly controlled information: “Information that isn't moving ceases to exist as anything but least until it is allowed to move again…The practice of information hoarding… is an especially wrong-headed artifact of physically based value systems.? (The Economy of Ideas p.6)

Who is protecting the wine?

Hi everybody. Unfortunately I do not yet have a copy of Bound by Law, so I am going to have to punt this week. Luckily, Mr. Barlow's article is coherent enough to make sense of some law for me, which is no small miracle.

As the article suggested, the problem with copyright law and the Internet is that both are moving at different paces. I thought the analogy of using real estate law to protect broadcasting was a good one. (p.2, Barlow) Some copyright law has never really worked well for the creators--witness Barlow's comments on ASCAP and radio royalties, " I can assure you this is not a model that we should emulate.The monitoring methods are wildly approximate. It really doesn't work. Honest."

So obviously, some rethinking needs to be done, and apparently has been done even since this article was written. In our discussions of Web 2.0, it seems like new mediums are being developed all the time. New sites for blog creation, My Space etc. Who owns the information on a blog page then? The site provider or the blogger? Is the blogger the wine and the site provider the bottle? (p. 3 Barlow) The writer of a popular blog however, always has the power to stop creating product, however.

I think in considering intellectual protection, the norms and practices of everyday people should be taken into account, as Barlow mentions, like common law. Do we read the fine print or ignore it? Is it our impulse to share software, or to obey the package warnings? (I think the answer to this is obvious, since we are seeing less and less 'physical' software and more downloading from the Internet. I received a new version of Adobe for Professionals at work, and the whole process was done online--try copying that!)

I like the idea of a commons, as we have been discussing all semester--that is what the Internet is really about for many people. When there is a lot of collaboration, who owns the product (if there is one)? In film, television, and theater there is a tremendous amount of collaboration, with each participant (actor, director, screenwriter) being paid up front. The studio owns the film in the end, though. In theater, since there is no physical 'final product' more ownership goes to the creators (playwrite, composer). If there is money to be had in collaborating on the Internet, you can bet there will be a conflict, and soon.

It seems funny to me that some bloggers end up wriitng books. Is the physical manifestation of the blog the only way a bogger can get paid? Historically, the Internet seems to be following the model of the physical world--those who invent the application--be it eBay, My Space, etc, make the money, while those who populate the application are the true 'creators' of it. So it has been for writers. Screenwriters are notoriously underpaid, even when the material is an original story. Writers have to work hard at protecting work.

That is why a site like Triggerstreet intrigues me. This site asks people to submit screenplays for critiques and ratings. Some people can submit short films. Screenwriters are continuously warned NOT to share ideas with others, in case they are stolen. Does that affect the material on the site--are people not posting their best efforts? Who owns the material once it is on the site?

In thinking about the law and the Internet, we would be well served (no pun intended) to remember that computers have long memories. Deleted and forgotten e-mail can be harvested from hard drives. Maybe there is a way that the Internet can use this memory for protective service. Maybe streaming or satellite radio does a better job of paying songwriters, for example.

I got your rights right here...

The idea of ownership on the internet is mind boggling as Barlow points out. The root of the problem however comes down to greed. Most of the content on the internet is written with the simple hope that someone will read it. With distributed authorship and Web 2.0 taking over what we read, it is only natural for something such as the Creative Commons license to come about. Anything else would be nearly impossible to manage. And when it comes down to it, most people don't care who is reading or using their work until they discover the ability to make money from it. Very few think about copyright until they already see their work being used elsewhere. It is in my opinion that if you don't know or care enough explicitly say that your work is copyrighted than you really have no right to expect money from it down the line. If you don't see the potential for profit enough to add a simple line of text, chances are no one else does either. If someone comes along later and puts extra work into what you started to make it a money making venture, then you must have missed and opportunity and well.....people miss opportunities every day. Suing someone who happens to see potential that you didn't, even enough to type one sentence, is not a way to make up for lack of ingenuity.

When I started making web sites, I would add to the bottom of each page "©". This was a move to simply protect myself from the consequences of doing nothing. I have never had a client EVER ask me to be sure to preserve their copyrights on content they create but I don't want to find myself in the middle of America's favorite pastime, litigation.

On to the topic of music. The copyright battles going on over recorded music right now are what is really killing the record industry. No matter what stats they flash around or how many subpoenas they hand out claiming to protect the work of the artist, the bottom line remains that they only care about their bottom line. They are alienating both their customers and their talent. The internet is finally making it possible for an artist to get their music heard without having to sell out to a label to pay for CD production and distribution. Artists know that what drives profits is buzz and a fan base. The best way to build both is get music out there for people to hear. I think there are enough decent people in the world who realize that if they want to hear more music they like, the artist needs to get paid. The world is changing and the record companies are in the past. Instead of changing with the times they are clinging to the past in the courtroom.

Mine, Yours, Ours?

I agree with Barlow when he states, "We will need to develop an entirely new set of methods as befits this entirely new set of circumstances." (In reference to the Internet and intellectual property.)

We need to throw out the old law books and start making new laws to mediate intellectual conflicts on and because of the Internet.

The government seems to be open in doing this, appointing a specific committee, The Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet, and Intellectual Property, to handle Internet issues.

In recent news, MaryBeth Peters stood in front of the committee in hopes to reform Section 115 of the Copyright Act.
She states, "the reform of the digital music licensing system is the most important music issue currently before Congress."

Congress might be at a standstill with some of it's laws- but other companies are finding solutions.
Creative Commons is be headed in the right direction, creating an alternative 'copyright' "to build a layer of reasonable, flexible copyright in the face of increasingly restrictive default rules." (CC website). As a side note, I wish all informational videos were that entertaining to watch.

BitLaw is a comprehensive Internet resource on technology law, covering subjects such as patent, copyright, trademark, and Internet legal issues. BitLaw was developed locally by Beck and Tysver, a law firm in Minneapolis. (

Finally, if you Google 'internet intellectual property solutions", a whole bevy of websites come up to help people learn about their rights in the digital age.

It will be interesting to see how our laws will evolve because of the Internet, maybe we'll turn into some sort of Uptopian society where no one cares anymore...nah probably not.

I wrote that online....didn't I?

Sharing images online from various different sources should be thought of differenlty as intellectual property rights. I'm sure if it was a picture of you or me and it was used in a bad way or in a way that could hurt us or to make money off of us then we would be worried. Then we would think more about what pictures we use and take off the net. I believe that there needs to be some kind of line drawn. However, in cyberspace, that's virtually impossible.

I personally haven't bought a cd since 1999, so 7 years now. I use a pay site to get my music or have my friends make me cd's. Do I think this is wrong? A little, if I was an artist I would be a little mad, but how much is actually being copied and shared without paying for it? Instead of an artist selling 2.5 million copies, they may sell 2.3 million copies. They are still going to be able to put food on the table. Buying music the old way is out these days and the norm will be to just make your own cd's. Which I see happening more and more everyday, or even people using there mp3 players where ever they go. Now you really don't need to buy cd's.

I believe that if lots of people are working on a project, website, blog or anything online, intellectual property needs to be shared. It's a tricky thing online, I mean anyone can use anyone elses information, change it up a bit, add to it and then call it there own. It's pretty impossible to give people credit where credit is due online. The Walker article had a good quote about this, "That doesn't mean we don't have to worry about regulating access to those resources. The question is, How do you create enough incentive to produce that resource if everybody can take it without paying for it? That's where excludability becomes important. Once I give a bit of information to the world, it's hard for me to exclude anybody from getting access to that information." (Walker, 1).

If I put something out on the Internet, it can be shared all over the world instantaneously. Someone could cut up what I wrote and change the whole meaning of what I was trying to say about a point I was trying to make. And when it comes back to me, I wouldn't even know who wrote it. It's a big game of telephone that we played as kids, it's just gotten grown up! The Barlow article gives a good insight into this, "I refer to the problem of digitized property. The enigma is this: If our property can be infinitely reproduced and instantaneously distributed all over the planet without cost, without our knowledge, without its even leaving our possession, how can we protect it? How are we going to get paid for the work we do with our minds? And, if we can't get paid, what will assure the continued creation and distribution of such work? (Barlow, 1).

Pandora's Box

We are approaching a Pandora’s box with intellectual rights. This isn’t a new phenomenon that we are facing but it is becoming unmanageable with the current distribution system available. In the ‘60’s and ‘70’s I copied my albums onto reel to reel and cassette tapes. The reel to reel provided 4-6 hours of continuous music while the cassettes offered portability. We didn’t pay an additional fee to copy the music and the artists lost revenue from missed cassette sales. In the late 70’s I worked for K-Tel records. At the time they were the 3rd largest record company in the world and they made their money in licensed compilations from original artists. Every 4th quarter they had sales in excess of 10 million records. The rights for each song were negotiated with the artists for a period of two years. It was a very profitable time for the company at the time.

Flash forward 30 years later and we have access to almost every song on the internet, some free and some for a modest price. Are the artists compensated? How many copies are available for the $.99? Are the musicians compensated or are the fees going to a holding company that has purchased the music catalog from the artist?

I enjoyed the article by John Perry Barlow and his experience as a lyricist for the Grateful Dead. I think the ability to increase revenue by offering Dead music for free is a unique situation. Not many bands compared to the Grateful Dead in a live concert atmosphere and their history is magical. I don’t think many other bands could see the same success as the Dead.

Barlow’s comment about information being like farm produce (page 9) is a novel way to categorize our current situation. Most information is perishable unless it is used when it is fresh. Barlow also talks about the physical aspect of information. If you can hold it and regulate the dissemination, you are in control. But now information is a fluid product. It can be reproduced and distributed without ever leaving the creators possession. Where are the stopgaps and regulations? Can we even monitor and regulate the intellectual property on the internet? I think there will be many changes in the next few years for intellectual law.

I edit video using Avid software on a PC. I know I should be Mac oriented for any creative endeavors but I am too old and too PC entrenched to change. Avid has an anti-piracy system that prevents the ability to easily to reproduce their software platform. In order to use their software, you have to attach a “fob? to a USB port on the computer. It is like a physical key to enable the software. I think it would be difficult to duplicate the hardware for the key unless you broke the fob and duplicate the hardware. I am also sure they have plenty of safeguards to protect their hardware and software.

Computer software and music are only the tip of the iceberg. The waters are getting murkier and murkier.

CONFUSION in the world of Copyright!

The Internet has opened the doors to many opportunities for all its’ users. We are now able to do, what the unthinkable was 10-15 years ago, by simply connecting on to the Internet. The information one can obtain is endless. However, where do you draw the line of what is intellectual property and fair game? I think this distinction has become more difficult to define as the Internet has become so endless with its’ capabilities.

I know that throughout my highschool and college experience, I’ve been told over and over again by my teachers to “site your sources, and give credit to the person who’s ideas you use that aren’t your own?. Copyright has always been a very confusing matter for me. It’s difficult to determine, in my opinion, what is classified as copyright work and what is not. The clip on “Creative Work? helped to clarify the matter for me a bit clearer. In this clip, it discussed how complex copyright became in 1980, when laws were passed which claimed that works become copyrighted automatically, the moment that they are made. Hence, any scribbling done on a cocktail napkin, is copyright work; the moment the individual places the pen down. These laws made it more difficult for individuals to know how to allow other users to use their work. That is when creative commons was developed. Creative commons was developed to complement copyright. Basically it allows co-authorship to take place. What I took from this is that every piece of information posted on the Internet, in books, on napkins, etc is copyright work. Fair game is what is referred to as creative common. However, when someone comes up with an idea, and doesn’t put it in writing, how is one to justify if that idea is copyright or not? I think this is where things begin to become too complex and confusing.

However, it becomes unclear to me where you draw the line of “intellectual property? when you are on an online forum such as Wikipedia. Obviously, there has to be some leeway as to what is considered copyright material on this site, since anyone and everyone is allowed to edit any particular subject or topic. I think that if a site wants their materials to be copyrighted, they should use some of this built-in copy protection system that you are unable to interfere with, as Lessig mention in his interview.

MP3 downloading sites, in my opinion, definitely are jeopardizing the artist’s work and “intellectual property?. However, I think that there needs to be some regulation, made from a legal standpoint, to stop this from happening. It would take far to long to try and fine, every individual downloading free music; therefore, they need to start by going after the people that are creating these sites, for thousands of users to exchange music.

A whole new Ball Game

The internet has definitely caused a lot of chaotic matter when it comes to copyrighted materials. I think that John Barlow summed it up perfectly in his introduction of, “… everything you know about intellectual property is wrong,? because it has chanced so much over the past years due to the internet. Now-a-days, when people want to find information, the internet is for many, the number one place to search. But, as we all know, this is not limited to text based information, but rather all sorts of different types of intellectual materials. MP3 files have caused a lot of chaos within the music industry within the past five years. Today, when people hear a song on the radio that they like, instead of going to buy the album that they know the song is on, they download it off the internet instead. I know that on a personal level, it has completely changed the way that I value music. I haven’t bought a CD since my 7th grade year in school. Since then, I have continued to find ways to download music for free. While this is technically illegal and even seeing as I’m usually a law abiding citizen, I have no problem downloading music for free, simply because everyone does it. If I were the only one who had MP3 files on the internet, it might be a different story. But instead, in comparison to others, I have a minimal MP3 downloading record in comparison to others. I agree with Barlow’s comment that, “The source of this conundrum is as simple as its solution is complex. Digital technology is detaching information from the physical plane, where property law of all sorts has always found definition.? It’s a completely different ball game.

In terms of Wikipedia, I feel that people should realize that it is collaborative material without even having to read the fine print. They are contributing to the definition of something, and should expect that to possibly be re-used by other people in the future. However, there are other areas of the copyright business that are much more complicated in terms of having no distinct boundaries. For example, when people are doing collaborative work online, who gets the credit? If this blog that we write into every week suddenly became a huge hit for some reason, who would reap the profits it created? Would it be split between all of the contributors equally, or would Krista receive it all because she prompted us with the questions? And then it could even become more complicated as to who owned the material after that? Although I know that this situation would never happen, there are other similar copyright problems such as throughout the internet. I found that the movie we watched on creative commons was very interesting, but for some reason, I do not feel that it will completely take off. I just don’t think that business will take the time and necessary effort in order to make the work accessible for others to use.


Wow, lawyers get really creative. After going through everything throughly, because I was honestly interested, I came up with two things:
1. I am happy this class is "educational" otherwise I do not know how I could possibly defend my current ideas for my upcoming final project (I know, the ideas are protected, but I'm talking about the completed ideas).
2. Could a lawyer sue a lawyer for copyright infringement for infringing on his or her copyright of a previously argued copyright case? I quickly Googled something similar (minus the extra complications) but haven't found anything about a lawyer being sued for mimicking another's argument.

After I made it through all the material, things are little clearer. I had always wondered how documentaries and shows like the Colbert Report got away with what they did. While I am opposed to the current laws that seem to revolve around Disney extensions of historical story tales, it is great to see that we still live in a nation where we can be satirical and criticize.

Personally I feel intellectual property is anything that can be used to create more knowledge. As Barlow explains:

Intellectual property law cannot be patched, retrofitted, or expanded to contain digitized expression any more than real estate law might be revised to cover the allocation of broadcasting spectrum (which, in fact, rather resembles what is being attempted here).

Whatever your definition of intellectual property is, it is wrong if used for the digital world. In the past, copying a quality picture literally meant finding the original or negative, and making a copy using photography equipment. This process was both time consuming, and the product was closer to the author. Now that we have digital video, pictures, and sound (along with text, graphics, etc.) it can take seconds for this media to get half way around the world and back again, with the author possibly never knowing it was taken.
I had heard a few excerpts about Creative Commons before, but their idea helps create more intellectual property. OpenSource software has been one of the great successes in the technology sector, serving as a public participant in many markets competing against the best of the web-browsers, email organizers and document creators, and doing very well. Mozilla is a great example of this, and I currently use it's web browser Firefox.

What is interesting to me is this concept of what kind of developments societies go through. In agrarian societies everyone worked together to help each other out so much as possible. It was the perfect kind of communism if done right, where everyone did their own work to contribute to the community. Then the American Industrial Revolution came around, we had to create the New Deal to reset our structure for helping our citizens. People seemed to distance themselves from each other (every man for himself), and we ended up with people suing each other for borrowing or even at times improving on what they did. While these protections are needed for the creators of works, it would not have happened in the agrarian societies. Then the digital world came, and now we have cross-cultural merging and re-creation of programs as they mature. We are now dealing with this cross culture of people trying to help each other, but fighting against the government, the system, the "man".

What I'm getting at is that I think Lessig hits it dead on. OpenSource is great, but filled with a bunch of "political slugs". We live in a world of extremes, and I think we can see this in this digitally-collaborative world. Those that are politically involved, generally spend too much time on policy and do not have enough of the best ideas. Many of the people that have great ideas, don't spend any time to talk to people about it.

I am looking forward to these next few weeks. Looking at the court cases near the end of "Bound By Law?" makes me glad I'm having a class on this now, and not learning about it through a lawsuit.

Copy... what???

After reading all of the articles on copywriting, I received a huge headache because of so many different steps I should say that one has to follow in order to be able to use someone else’s picture or “idea? either on a website, research paper, or other types of media. I thought it was interesting that the short movie “Creative Commons: Get Creative? stated that as soon as your pick up your pencil from a cocktail napkin, you own those dootles. When reflecting about that statement, I always assumed that it was “your napkin? but for a case to happen in order for the copyright company to have to determine that, boggles my mind. What was so important on that napkin, in which you had to make a law stating that it was yours?

Like every teacher, many of them tell us that you can use other peoples work as long as you give them credit where credit is deserved. For the most part, in all papers, we all know that you take a quote from someone, you obviously do not get into contact with the specific person who wrote that, because at times it would be nearly impossible, so instead you cite where you found the information and the details of the specific article, paper, or picture.

When I was reading about “mashups?, it reminded me of one of my favorite artists from when I was younger, Vanilla Ice. I remember there was a big to do because one of his beats that he took for his hit single “Ice, Ice Baby? had his background sound very similar to another beat from another artist. However, he never got sued because he added ONE extra beat to the rhythm therefore making it his own. It is a really horrible position to be in when you are the underdog, but I feel as though there is nothing that you can do except to get over it because most of the times they DID change it, but many times it is ever so slightly, but it is enough for them to claim it their own. When watching the movie, “Creative Commons: Get Creative? if The White Stripes did not give verbal consent like they supposedly did, I do not feel as though it was right because the new band clearly took vocals from the original band.

It is very hard to put a copyright on an idea. With many other copyrights such as medicine or products, there is a tangible item that the companies can say they own that particular item. However, with ideas it is very hard to copyright that. I personally, have a peer of mine trying to copyright a method of marketing and is in the process of formally copyrighting it and talking with Apple and other big corporations to see if it would work which is very interesting to hear what the process is that he has to go through in order to successfully copyright and patent his idea.

The mess of the copyright

I had a class about copyright laws last year and I did not imagine it would be so complicated. I have to admit I forgot half of it right now, but I was amazed by the number of different cases and the precision with which everything is planned (after all, it is of course normal and reassuring).
Reading the article, I remembered about the difficulty of that class and that our teacher told us that many details change in different countries. With Internet, the notion of countries is so flouted that I wonder how this can work. If a French person breaks a copyright of an American brand, will he be judged under the French law or this American one? (I actually don't know, and the teacher told that these kind of conflicts can last years just because of fights between lawyers.

Before getting into the articles and the CC website, I was thinking that every laws concerning these subjects should be actualised because many of them were written such a long time ago. If everything did not change, I was happy to see the principle of Creative Commons and that people try to deal with the new technologies in an interesting way, and not always trying to repress more and more Internet users. A domain where the changes have affected very much an industry is music and I think that this industry should completely re-think its way of functionning instead of blaming and threatening people online. I don't want to get to deep into this because I think we'll talk about it next week.

Anyway, I don't have the answer of how the copyright should evolve in the future but I strongly believe that many laws should be adapted to the new technologies, and people should start realizing that Internet is not only a threat to the products they invented but also a great way to involve them, collectively.

Such Complicated Protections!

Where to start? After going through all the readings and the video, I am amazed at how complicated the protection and regulation of intellectual property is. Although there are laws that help protect an artist from having their works stolen without permission, the artists have to equally show consideration to whatever idea or pictures or videos that they use in their own creations. While there are some situations where it's OK to show someone else's material if it was not intentional, there are other situations where you must "clear the rights" for use of material if you intended to add it to your work (Aoki, Boyle, Jenkins). I found that the authors of Bound by Law? did an excellent job explaining how the whole system works. I'll have to read it about 50 more times to get it all straight, but it was great.

I enjoyed the story of the artist Tom Forsythe. An artist, Forsythe was taken to court by the Mattel Corporation because they didn't like his artistic renderings of Barbie which were in fact legal. Forsythe had the right to present Barbie in the context of parody. Mattel's lawyers obviously knew this but their aim was to apply pressure on Forsythe. Legal representation is expensive and many people in this situation would have to settle for fear of bankruptcy. I was happy to read that the Judge saw through this scheme and threw out the case. He even ordered Mattel to pay for Forsythe's legal expenses (Aoki, Boyle, Jenkins). How great is that?

I have heard many a story of a powerful person or corporation that sues someone to simply apply financial pressure. They know that their case is weak but they are able to either keep the case tangled in the legal system or scare the person into settling because they fear financial ruin. My friend's boss experienced this first hand. He owns a boat dealership and also does a lot of service work on boats. A big-shot lawyer had brought his boat in to have some work done. After the work was completed, the lawyer claimed that the dealership had damaged his boat. The boss checked and found that the damage was present when the boat arrived. The lawyer then tried to intimidate the boss by saying, "Do you know how deeply I could sue you?" That's an abuse of power if I've ever seen it. It's heartening to see that there is some protection from such monsters.

In regards to what happens to someone's creation after it’s uploaded to the internet, I am confused. I think that a person's works should definitely be protected, but what happens when someone in a different country uses those works without permission? That seems to be quite a murky situation. John Perry Barlow description of this situation fits well. He states that, "In cyberspace, no national or local boundaries contain the scene of a crime and determine the method of its prosecution; worse, no clear cultural agreements define what a crime might be."

China is a great example. I worked for a company that produces power generators. A competitor of this company decided to outsource the production of one of its generators to a contract manufacturer in China. At the time, Chinese companies were (without permission) shamelessly copying anything they could get their hands on. Someone over in China decided to copy the competitor’s generator and sell it for themselves. I’m sure our competitor was not pleased.

The ownership of the content that people create online on various websites is also a touchy issue. In a recent paper of mine, I wrote about that famous website/corporation known as Yahoo!. As the Yahoo! Corporation grew, they bought up new web services that would complement their web site. Users of the acquired web sites took issue with the Yahoo! Corporation’s practice of changing the relevant terms of service. After taking over a service, Yahoo! would claim intellectual property rights on the content of their servers ( History of Yahoo!).

This makes me think twice about what I upload or create online. If I get into writing on these nifty blogs, or if I upload my precious photos to any site, I want to make sure that I own that media.

Skipping the Intermediaries?

It sounds to me that the current rules for intellectual ownership take rights away from the original creator as well as anyone who might want to use that work. Obviously, we don't want a system where anyone can just take anyone else's ideas and use them however they want since we'd reach a point where integrity doesn't exist and no one could be sure if all those random ideas out there were original or copied from something else, but it's also not right for ideas to exclusively belong to the people who created them since that takes away creative integrity as well. The system used in the past, copyright vs. public domain, gave people some limited control of how their ideas could be used, but even those two options left no room for specific restrictions. However, it's still better than saying any piece of creative work is the creator's property as soon as they're done creating it. At the very least, people need to be able to include instructions with their work controlling its use without necessarily totally restricting it, which seems to be what Creative Commons is trying to do. Otherwise, the current system puts a lot of pressure on the people compliling the creative works to track down the people who own the rights to those works, and even then, they still might not be able to use those things because of some legal precedence in effect.

In any case, ideas and copyrights are so pervasive in modern culture, especially now that we have the internet, that it's next to impossible to track down every last owner and ask them for permission. It makes sense to have laws protecting people using these ideas in this case. For instance, "the appearance of products bearing well known trademarks in cinema and television is a common phenomenon" (Bound by Law, 49). Laws similar to this should be in effect for other fair use examples, like The Simpsons and the Rocky theme being incidentally captured in other documentaries (Bound by Law, 13, 14). In both these cases, it was corporations who made a big fuss and asked for huge amounts of money in compensation, even going against Matt Groening in the Simpsons example. Worse yet, it ruined the integrity of those documentaries since the filmmakers were only trying to capture reality. Corporations need to understand that the things they own exist in a large context, and they can't go nickel and diming every last appearance of everything. After all, you can't honestly say 4 and a half seconds of The Simpsons caught in the background of some documentary is really going to significantly hurt ratings or DVD sales, can you? These things nees to be judged on a case by case basis.

It's Easy When You Skip the Intermediary

As of now I am giving permission to use this blog entry for their own works. Isn't it amazing how the laws of this country have changed? With the creation of the Internet it became easier to take and use copy written materials and use them to your own benefit. It makes sense that corporations, musicians, movie studies, etc...were angered because it was easier to take their stuff. However, mixed in this was the problem of people putting things online with the intent of people using them and putting them into works.

It is so easy to mistakenly steal others stuff these days I believe that we should change the way we should think about intellectual property rights. This is evidenced in the interview with Lessig, "00, the magazine, which had been prosecuted for posting links to technology to circumvent the encryption that protects content on DVDs. There were basically two claims here. One was that the Digital Millennium Copyright Act was overbroad because it prohibited uses that were perfectly legal. Second was a much more direct challenge to the idea that you could prosecute a magazine for linking to content that might be deemed illegal." This case is a classic First Amendment case. Companies are trying to protect their goods but are infringing on people's First Amendment rights. As this issue grows, we are going to see more and more lawsuits brought by companies that are trying to protect their product. A recent example of this is how hackers have found a way to put new songs on the Playstation 2 game Guitar Hero. On a blog there is a very complicated and tedious process but those who are technologically savvy will be able to do this. Is this an example where people are stealing from Guitar Hero or because people were smart enough to figure out how to hack it should they be left alone?

From my freshman year in college I have never been that worried about stealing music. I took precautions from being caught and talked to some of my computer literate friends to see what the best downloading software was. I was sick of paying for music where there was only one good song and the rest of the CD was crap. I believe that iTunes saved the music industry. People are feeling more compelled to pay for music and stay away from downloading illegally. A friend of mine who started a band actually put his music online for people to download for free to get the music out there. He also asked me and a few others to post the music too. This is an example of going with the current trend and allowing the public to discover new, cool bands. I believe Barlow puts it well when he says the Internet is, "The place where information dwells, the holy moment where transmission becomes reception, is a region which has many shifting characteristics and flavors depending on the relationship of sender and receiver, the depth of their interactivity."

If people give their word that it is fine to use their works I do not see why lawyers or other legal proceedings need to get involved. We need to realize that there are things that corporations need and want to protect but that does not mean that the regular consumer who puts a paper online needs to copyright it so no one else can use it. If he did that, there should be a law in place that pays royalties to anyone who has their things used. Libraries would become useless and so would the internet. We need to be careful where our laws are headed because it could ruin how the Internet is used.

Let's Get Creative

Whenever the issue of copyright is brought up, especially with all the changes in the digital age, I'm always brought to remember that copyright is a pretty new idea in human history. Before the last few hundred years or so (if memory serves me) everything was free of copyright. Most of Shakespeare's plays relied heavily on the use of sources for plot lines, which is something that I was somewhat surprised by when I found out, because I assumed the greatest playwright in history would have been the sole creator of all his work. But it's interesting to consider the fact that back then everything created was part of public domain. In many ways, of course, current copyright laws protect the creators of whatever is copywritten, but sometimes they can also heavily restrict the use of pretty much anything. I found it interesting that in the creative commons video that the bass player just added things to the White Stripes album without prior consent. I'm not that surprised that Jack White consented to the album and everything, but if it were me, and someone took a record that I had spent so much time writing and recording, taking months to get everything to sound the way I want it, and someone took my recordings and added stuff over the top of them and called it their own, I would file a cease and desist order. But to get to the reason why the story is relayed, if consent is given it's a completely different matter (Again, if it were me, if a person asked permission to use my recordings first, I would be much more willing to see what they had in mind). I do think consent should be able to be given by a simple "Is it ok if I do this?" and cutting down on red tape and legal jargon. But I think to keep everything in the clear, consent should be given BEFORE posting things online so that as many people as possible can hear them.
When it comes to mp3's on blogs, again I just think it's a matter of getting consent beforehand. The artists and bands so popular that they are impossible to get a hold of except by way of managers or what have you are groups that wouldn't appear on music blogs anyways, becase everyone already knows them. Since music blogs are for lesser known bands that are easy to get ahold of by email (and everyone is much easier to get in contact with in the digital age, of course), it shouldn't be much of an issue to get consent for posting or remixing or mashing up songs before posting them for the world to see. Paying for music as opposed to downloading it is a whole issue unto itself, and it looks like we'll be talking about that next week .
In the case of something like Wikipedia, which is designed to be a communal work, I think any claims to copyright should be negated for use within Wikipedia and similar programs. Especially when it comes to Wikipedia, because it's such a massive collective of people that really have little contact with one another, aside from moderators or people who spend a lot of time on the site. It's almost impossible to know who you're collaborating with, so any claims to copyright are completely unrealistic.
That said, I like the idea of the Creative Commons CC copyright. It seems like a good way to allow more free access of creative property should you choose to allow it. I was wondering if there are certain terms built in the CC license or if it's something that the creator is able to determine him or herself. In my mind, the ideal function of all these copyright laws is to protect people who don't want their intellectual property used in a way they don't want it to be while allowing a fairly easy way to waive those protections if they want to allow a little more free use of their ideas. It seems like the CC is a good step towards that.

The Age of Free Information

"While the Internet may never include every CPU on the planet, it is more than doubling every year and can be expected to become the principal medium of information conveyance, and perhaps eventually, the only one." (Barlow, 2).

While I disagree that computers and the internet could eventually become the only medium over which information is conveyed, the fact that computer and internet usage is doubling on a yearly basis is enough to cause some confusion when it comes to intellectual property, and thus a call for change. In all honesty, I do not want to see changes; I do not want to see "free" music disappear. Piracy of intellectual property such as music and pictures is not the only call for change, though. If I create a website using my own design, it is protected according to the rule that any intellectual property that I create is automatically protected. However, all someone would need to do is open the source code page in their web browser, and copy and paste it somewhere onto their own computer for use in their own website. If this were to happen (and it does, often I'm sure) it would be difficult to ever know, let alone to find the new website that is a rip of my own. Unless there are changes in how online intellectual property is dealt with, I cannot see the internet becoming the information medium (unless of course all information is free).

As far as collaborative intellectual property such as Wikipedia, I believe that when you agree to take part in such a project, you are acknowledging that the only credit you will receive is some notice, and not of your real name but instead of your username. The idea of Wikipedia would be congruent to the principal medium shifting to the internet, with the pursuit of free information.

April 3, 2007

C vs. CC

Before watching the Creative Commons video, I had no idea that once a work is created and finished, it is automatically copyrighted. I thought that the only way that something can be copyrighted was if it had the "c" symbol. In relation to intellectual property rights and re-use of images as well as any other kind of information, I think that everything needs to be cited. Since we have new laws that say that any work that is finished is automatically copyrighted, we need to respect the creator of the information or image and cite where we took our information from. People shouldn't claim other people's work as their own, that's stealing. As far as music downloading is concerned, I think that it shouldn't be free unless the artist intended the music to be free. I think that people should be paid for their craft. I think that we should keep paying for music according to the old model of physically purchasing it.

The work that is collaboratively placed online such as on Wikipedia should also be copyrighted. The fact that many people wrote on one page does not mean that those people do not own their words. If someone else wants to come in and use their information, they need to say the general cite on which they got their information, since the individual authors are not listed.

I don't think that just because a work is placed online that it should be ripped off. The problem right now is that people are making a transition from taking information from physical literary sources to intangible online cites. "Books froze their contents into a condition which was as challenging to alter as it was to reproduce. Counterfeiting and distributing counterfeit volumes were obvious and visible activities - it was easy enough to catch somebody in the act of doing." (Barlow) The problem with online articles, music, and images is that it is so easy to just cut and paste, or download information without paying for it or citing it. "Unlike unbounded words or images, books had material surfaces to which one could attach copyright notices, publisher's marques, and price tags." (Barlow) I think that the Creative Commons' "cc" idea is a very good step forward in figuring out how to copyright online information. Users can easily identify the information that the website creator or whoever wanted the users to use the information that they provide. I think that we're in a transitional place in figuring out how to properly copyright online information and let the users know what information they can take, and that with time, we'll be able to set up new policies that regulate this process.

CC for Everyone!

Intellectual property is a murky area, to say the least, especially when the Internet is involved. I work for a manufacturing company (that is world-wide) and every few years they have meetings on the importance of patents and employee rights to patents. After reading the articles for this week, I’m surprised we haven’t had information regarding the use of materials from the Internet. But as mentioned in “The Economy of Ideas,? proprietary (companies) assertions of thinkers are not focused on ideas but on the expression of those ideas (through objects).

Barlow’s statement “Intellectual property law cannot be patched, retrofitted, or expanded to contain digitized expression any more than real estate law might be revised to cover the allocation of broadcasting spectrum,? is a nice summation of where we are at with this issue. To complicate matters, the Internet is a global tool. With various cultures using this, who is to say which law is appropriate. In some cultures, it is very respectful to use other’s property but in the U.S. is considered plagiarism. Barlow talks of the metamorphosing tales of prehistory and information was orally passed from person to person, culture to culture. Folktales are a prime example. We do not know who the authors are but these stories were passed around and modified with each passing; most cultures have some version of Cinderella. Is that why Western countries think they have legal rights to the “music, designs, and biomedical lore of aboriginal people without compensation to their tribes of origin since those tribes are not an “author? or an “inventor??? How sad is that?

Information does want to change with each passing. In printed media, it takes much longer and there is a source (author) associated with the change. Printed media moves much slower than digital information. Our Wikipedia exercise shows how easy and fast digital information changes. My userid is associated with my change but who am I? Not a credible source that should be updating data used by millions? Scary. But, as Barlow mentions the evolution of a “settled West?, order will eventually be maintained. If it is not maintained, who will put works on the net? Encouragement of intellectual development will slowly decline. Ideas need to be free so that others can build upon them (T.Jeffereson). Ethics will need to play a huge role in the order of intellectual property. "Overprotecting intellectual property is as harmful as underprotecting it." (Judge Alex Kozinski "Bound by Law")

I actually enjoyed the comic on public domain. I was aware of the copyright issues but didn’t realize the “fair use? issue. I assumed most products in films were strategically placed for advertisement purposes. It seems the “fair use’ line is hazy at best. Some of the cases and the resolutions were surprising to me. I was surprised how the judge ruled against Mattel. Another issue is the use of public figures; I assumed that if you are a public figure, speeches and other public appearances would be considered public domain.

(I tried to insert the creative commons symbol but my Word only has ® © ™. Maybe it's on the next version?)

just COPY and PASTE

“If our property can be infinitely reproduced and instantaneously distributed all over the planet without cost, without our knowledge, without its even leaving our possession, how can we protect it? How are we going to get paid for the work we do with our minds? And, if we can't get paid, what will assure the continued creation and distribution of such work?? (Barlow, John. The Economy of Ideas)

The internet definitely has made it easy for one to find and re-use images for their own creation. With that said, it should not change the way we think about intellectual property rights. Once you post your work online, there is no set boundary for what the crime is if another decides to use your work. Last week my teacher spoke about China and the problem of recreating products to be sold (bags, watches, textbooks, etc.) that can not be done in the U.S. There is no law whatsoever and it has become out of control. It’s even gone to the extreme where professors are making a copy of the whole textbook because of shortages. The internet is not as extreme because as Jesse Walker mentioned, “there is more control.? (Barlow, John. The Economy of Ideas) He used the example of Adobe eBook which controls what you print and how many times you do. As for music and the concern of buying it like the old model, I believe we should keep buying. Just like other people who go into a store and buy the actual CD, it’s only ethical that everyone else should because the artist is not receiving credit for their work. Although I don’t care to download music online or whatnot, I don’t have much feelings towards it because I know others have mentioned how they’ve been able to find music that they can not find elsewhere and they do spend quite a lot downloading music online too.

I think intellectual property can be seen in many different ways. I agree that “Intellectual property law cannot be patched, retrofitted, or expanded to contain digitized expression any more than real estate law might be revised to cover the allocation of broadcasting spectrum? and “intellectual property is very different from physical property and can no longer be protected as though these differences did not exist.? (Barlow, John. The Economy of Ideas) This goes the same for Wikipedia, which I learned to use last week. It’s open to everyone and information is received through different minds and ideas. The information given is open to all. This is different when speaking in terms of doctors, lawyers, consultants who are being paid for their intellectual property.

What's Mine is Yours (for the taking)

I have never worried about paying for music. I pay for the music I listen too. I have bought a lot of vinyl albums in my day, and then reel-to-reel tape came along, then cassette tapes, then CDs, and now MP3s and downloading from iTunes. Beginning with reel-to-reel tape decks I could record music from my vinyl albums. Exchanging MP3’s is no different, only the speed of duplication and reach has changed. I personally have never been concerned about DRM (digital rights management) on music I have purchase from iTunes. I don’t mind paying for the convenience of Apple’s model of buying, downloading, and playing on my iPod because it’s so easy. The selection on iTunes is wonderful and I don’t have to hunt all over the Internet to steal music from blogs. I consider downloading music I didn’t pay for as theft. The same holds true with the software I own. I have paid for it. I’m not a fool, I shop around for the best deals I can find, but I do purchase the software for the same reason I purchase my music. I’m a strong advocate of intellectual property. I wouldn’t want anyone stealing my intellectual property. This week Apple and EMI announced they would offer DRM free music for 30 cents more on iTunes with a little extra value added. The DRM music is fine with me and I’ll save the 30 cents.

I had written and published a software program for the Apple II in 1980 and copyrighted it with the Big C (Aoki, p. 9). I had no idea of how complex copyright law has become since then (Aoki, p. 10-11). Creative Commons is a unique approach to some of the intellectual property rights issues as is Fair Use. I certainly have no faith that our elected officials will resolve any of the problems filmmakers and other producers of intellectual property that incidentally uses others work face that were pointed out in Bound by Law. I only hope that common sense will prevail.

April 2, 2007


Intellectual property rights is a difficult issue that can go to the extremes. Sometimes people can carry it too far and deem one thing someone's property when theres no reason that it should be. This was even shown in the Bound By Law book in the case where Terry Gilliam used various images for his Monty Python series. Twenty years after one of his movies was put out he was forced to pay for using a copied image of a Xerox of Da Vinci's "Last Supper". (Page 20). I think that would be a perfect example of going too far. Another good example of this that exists in the music industry: The Danger Mouse case in which it was the record labels and not the individual artists who were breathing down Danger Mouse's neck for use of Jay Z's work ( I think that if an individual artist dosn't seem to have an issue with another person using their creations (note THEIR creations and not the record labels who were not involved in the creative process at all) then there shouldn't be an issue. This issue was discussed in the White Stripes case which is shown in the second Creative Commons video. In this case an individual added bass tracks to the White Strips copyrighted material and asked Jack White personally if he could put the completed works on the internet. The creative commons video called it avoiding the intermediaries which I think is a very important issue.

Another case of property rights going to far is the case of encrypted DVD's. Somehow somewhere down the line it became illegal to create software to read encrypted DVD's so that you could play non region DVD's or possibly even copy them. While I am not advocating this, it seems funny how this is illegal but it is not illegal for people to publish how-to's or instructionals on how to create high explosives or other hazardous activites. These instructionals are protected under free speech but someone who wants to play a DVD they are out of luck. The Reason magazine article discusses this and comes to the same conclusion as I have that there is no logical explanation for this. (Walker 4).

On the other hand there can be times when these rights do not go far enough and an artist's work is exploited for someone else's personal benefit. I can see where it would be harmful if someone was completely stealing another's works and making much more profits than the original person was. If you think about it, this would be like a retailer stealing semi-trucks full of goods and selling them in their stores instead of purchasing them from manufacturers.

For me personally the abundance of MP3 blogs and other forms of media which could theoretically aid in my avoidance of purchasing music has no effect on me. I remember when I first got a job I never purchased CD's because I thought they were too expensive. I think from the years from when i was 14-17 I purchased about 4 CD's. When high school ended I began downloading music and using and other forms of music streaming. Around this time my CD collection skyrocketed as my music interest began to peak and now I could tell whether i was wasting my money or not.

As a sidenote I nearly split my sides in laughter when Creative Commons was discussing their copywrite licenses in that they, "wrote these licenses so that lawyers and courts could read them, then we translated them into a language you can read, and then we translated them into a language that computers can read".

Owning One's Labour

When it’s so easy to find and re-use images, does that change the way we should think about intellectual property rights?
Legally, I would have to say no. This is because people still have a right to own their labor. This belief that we all have a right to own our own labor is a very own idea, and is the bases of our democracy (read Hobbes). To question this theory is to go against the very idea of self. This is because people taking other’s work and making it their own, even in the most minutest way, takes away from the creativity or the original mind which conceived the idea. For example, imagine a world where no one got credit for their work. I would imaging that the level of creativity would plummet.

Has the abundance of mp3 blogs made you worry less about paying for music, and should we keep buying music according to the old model?
I most certainly think we should. This is because it is illegal to steal music. Is it easier to take music off the internet, yes. However, it does not make it right. This is further outlined thus, “I [Barlow] refer to the problem of digitized property. The enigma is this: If our property can be infinitely reproduced and instantaneously distributed all over the planet without cost, without our knowledge, without its even leaving our possession, how can we protect it ( April 2007)?? This quote outlines a reasonable worry about protecting an idea. However, Barlow’s quote lends credence to my argument, that an idea is still owned, and whether it is easy or not to steal it, the idea is still owned. Therefore, we aught to keep buying music, because we owe it the music’s conceiver to give them credit for their work.

What does “intellectual property? mean when we’re doing collaborative work online, particularly the sort of work you did last week on Wikipedia?
In the case of Wikipedia, intellectual property is given freely. Due to the fact that one owns their own work, then I would say that one can also freely give it away in a collaborative work.

What if lots of people are working on the same project or using parts of other projects to make their own original work, or mashups ?

For me it all depends. This is because ideas once again belong to the conceiver. If one person involves themselves in a group, as this scenario insists, then the still own the ideas they share. That means that when someone uses another’s idea and incorporates it into their finished product, that person still owes credit to the person they originally took an idea from. Much in the same way an automobile company makes money on their cars, but owe money to others who own patents on the automobile’s components. Ford makes money on the car, but still pays a royalty to a break maker they use for their cars.
This all has a precedent in the disinagration of the commons in renaissance England. There was once, common land that was used by commoners and nobility alike for agricultural purposes. However, as the growth of ownership gained provenance in the more current era, the commons were bought up. The internet will ultimately become this way, because people will always seek to own their work, just as Englishmen sought to own the land they worked over 300 years ago. (in reaction to the article , “Cyberspaces Leagle Visionary?