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Copyright laws limit artistic expression, progression


The evolution of human beings continues in every aspect of our existence. As a natural instinct we have adapted to physical and mental change as we see fit. Throughout history we have shaped and advanced our society with our creative touch. The influence for that very creative touch has been slowly coming to an end as copyright laws readily seek to halt expression and limit the creative touch of those that seek to provide artistic progression.

Much of the creative influence humans have left on this world is due to the creation of artistic expression—most readily, music. Artists provide us with more than just art—they give us an untraditional form of treasure and communication.

Music is a big part of the cultural treasure our ancestors have left us to recreate. However, it is also true that music has become a source of profit, and much of the music treasure has become almost impossible to grasp inspiration from. For this reason copyrighting laws should be reconsidered. Copyright laws limit artistic expression and keep our society from evolving into a future, as it is stuck in the past.

Copyrights are necessary to give creative minds full and absolute authority over their work. They deserve to be recognized as the originators of their masterpiece. As the music industry expanded, copyright laws did too. This is where those laws got away from their original intent. The expansion of copyright laws did everything but favors for those in search of inspiration from already existing music.

The generally understood purpose of copyright is protection. In fact, Merriam-Webster defines copyright as a legal form of protection provided to authors of original work that gives them exclusive rights to their work. Yet, current copyright laws have turned into a kind of overly possessive boyfriend that will not give his girlfriend a chance to socialize with others aside from himself.

A perfect example of an artist who struggles creatively due to copyright laws is Greg Michael Gillis. Gillis is a mashup artist from Cleveland, Ohio. He is an untraditional artist who might hold the future of music in his laptop.

Gillis’ music consists of a mixture of various songs belonging to all different artists with a unique sound—creation of his own—to tie all those together. The limitation that copyright laws force Gillis to face is the lack of accessibility to other artists’ songs. As a mashup artist, Gillis is in constant use of others’ songs, but copyright laws make it illegal for him to take others’ music and combine it with his own sound.

According to the Stanford University Libraries, the rule of fair use in copyrighting is defined as one where the public secures some kind of benefits from one’s review that is enhanced by including the copyrighted material of another.

With this definition in mind, one can see that Gillis has matching intentions to those belonging to the fair use. He uses another’s work to enhance his own.

Copyrights are needed, but they should be more accessible to artists who wish to enhance their work through the work of others. Making copyright laws less limited will allow artists to enhance their work and provide our society with new forms of music, just the way Gillis is attempting to do.