Standing on the Shoulders of Giants: Copyright and Creativity

Copyright User has recently published a suite of video resources that cover the subject of copyright in an accessible way. Seven video shorts ask questions like “What does copyright mean to you?” to practitioners of each of the main artistic mediums. From musicians and filmmakers to interactive developers and visual artists, they each share their thoughts and concerns about copyright. Questions raised by the interviewees are then subsequently answered with the help of leading academics.

In addition, the video Copyright and Creativity explores the relationship between copyright, creativity and technology, based on the answers by leading copyright experts to a short questionnaire. The film aimed to make copyright compelling to creators and average internet users, trying to demonstrate that is not just a set of rules but an interesting world worth exploring.

Copyright User states “The responses presented some common themes: since the invention of the printing press, the development of new technologies has made copying more and more accurate, requiring copyright law to adapt to this evolution… We thought that the quotation ‘If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants’ – meaning that every new creation is based on something that has been created in the past – would have been an effective way to express these concepts. This metaphor is commonly referred to Newton, but apparently it was first attributed to Bernard of Chartres. Even though copyright does not attach to the work of Newton as a theoretical physicist, it does apply to Newton’s Principia as a literary work. The first edition of this book was published in 1687, when copyright did not exist yet, and the second edition in 1713, only 3 years after the first-ever Copyright Act was introduced. In our view, all these elements create a nice story to introduce the mechanisms of copyright law to the public.”

Copyright User is an independent online resource to help creators and users understand their rights. Read more…