20 Apr 2022


Copyright Standards for Online and Printed Material

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According to Cornish copyright laws generally the legal rights of ownership and distribution that is given to a person as a regulation to an original work they created (Cornish, 2013). These laws are essentially structured to restrict access to works of other people without owner’s permission. Fundamentally, they give exclusive rights of ownership to the owners of original works. The media operations generally revolve around information acquisition and representation to the general public, this means that original works of other people play an important role in the industries operations. As a result, copyright laws have a direct impact on media as an industry today, and consequently shaping the way a communications professional makes decisions, govern actions, and communicate with others within the industry (Couldry, 2012). Since its commencement, there have been tremendous amendments to copyright laws, the main changes that have been made are additional clauses that represent digital original works. However, this amendment has not been significant enough to protect the rights of authors and artist in the digital world. From this point of view, it might seem like the media legal framework has taken lightly the representation of digital content within media as a society. It may have might have been a good idea in the early 2000’s when digitalization was still an infant, nut now that the digital world has significantly grown, those efforts can be compared to a drop of water in the ocean.

This in considerations has prompted serious debates of international scale. More specifically their main claims support the fact that the digital world should have a different set of rules, completely different from the copyright laws that represent written physical media elements (paper published). Supporting the claim is the fact that the digital media has phases. Phases that could not be anticipated and therefore legally not represented, this fact in a way has complicated the current copyright laws representing online digital contents. Therefore, a different framework that is based on the main challenges of digital media and the core driving factors that support stable copyright laws. In a bid to understand the challenges that are presented to the current legal system by digitization, an in-depth exploration to the phases of digitization will paint the picture, and show how much helpless is the use of the current copyright laws to protect original works of people.

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To begin, with digital content has the strongest and more complicated network of sharing, that is the internet. Nearly all the digital contents available on the internet, are accessible with or without the owner’s consent (Darrell, 2014). This is partly because the internet was meant for sharing of information and therefore, it is not possible to attain complete restriction of access to specific digital information that is already uploaded to the internet. However, international community working together with individual countries have made considerable attempts, that essentially limit the accessibility of licensed information. Licensed in the sense that, exclusive owners have an attached authorization that they give to the clients that have formally acquired their work. The clients can either buy the license or formally recognize the work of the author. In this has introduced a formality in which digital contents can be formally claimed and valued based on the intellectual content they uphold. But, this is just a tip of the ice burg, a significant solution would require a different approach.

Another aspect of digitization that threatens the effectiveness of the existing copyright laws is the uncertainties to the foreseeable future. The digital world is significantly controlled by technology. Technology, on the other hand, is known to be ever dynamic, this is to say that essentially, technology changes constantly towards an unknown effectiveness (Boyd, 2012). More often, technological change in the digital arena came as a small improvement to the already existing ones or as an introduction of a new product in a different format. Technology is undeniably one of the greatest landmarks of the twentieth century. However, its constant change is affecting the formalization of most of the technological affiliated operations, like in the case of online media, no one has an idea of what the internet will be like in the near future. Unlike, in the day’s information was essentially distributed in one particular format, that is the paper format. There were no other formats that would compete print format (print media). Therefore, the future of print media was fairly certain, to the copyright lawmakers formulating a legal framework that would protect the rights of authors, was fairly easy and less expensive unlike protecting online digital works.

Additionally, digital contents have greater economic benefits, owed to its virtual nature. However, these characteristics further lessen the effectiveness of the copyright laws. The main characteristics of digital contents can be divided into three key subsections. At the outset, contents in digital format are easy to reproduce, one only require basic computer knowledge to be able to access nearly all the online data in the mainstream media (Finnemann, 2011). Also, the same person, with the same simple resources, may also be capable of reproducing digital contents that cost a fortune to create, using expensive resources. This is an unfair trade posted by the internet on a global scale; it is one that has triggered major debates within international communities. Another characteristic of the digital format, it that they are easy to disseminate. With the advent of the internet and the extensive global digital networks, information in digital format can be rapidly disseminated worldwide (Finnemann, 2011). For instance, broadcasting digital content, the information is relayed from a point, then disseminated to individual users simultaneously in the digital format, all this in a split of a second. This is a good thing when looking at it from the economic point of view. However, ease of transfer can be catastrophic as well. for instance, when a digital content goes viral. This means that the media or the owner of the content will have no control of the distribution of the content. Such cases present significant challenges in addressing because they are not clearly defined within copyright laws.

One more characteristic is that digital contents are easily stored. This is owed to the fact that digital storages are dense and because it is one of the branches of technology, they get much denser with every passing year. Essentially, this means that huge amount of date can be stored in small storage equipment, for instance, a terabyte of storage space can millions of digital books, that is works of more than a million authors. This characteristic makes it difficult to trace or recover disseminated or illegally acquired digital contents, pirates can easily disseminate, the contents by physical means now that the storage facilities small and easy to carry around. From these characteristics, it is clear that digital formats are very dynamic compared to the traditional print media. Therefore, the most viable solution with respect to the right of ownership claims is a that a legal independent framework should be devised. This may be the only way to shape the fast-growing digital media industry.

As a promising possibility to salvaging one of the main media legalities, a complete change in the copyright law structure, from a paper-based foundation to a foundation that is defined in a digital kind of foundation. Copyright laws internationally, have had slight improvements that accommodate digital contents, this changes that outline the legal aspects of the digital content are based on an incompatible legal infrastructure. A completely new foundation that is based on governing digital contents as an aspect of technology, considering the dynamic nature of technology as one of the most crucial aspects of the copyright framework. With this kind of framework in place, emerging issues within the media that may be technologically related will find an already established copyright system, that will not only protect the new digital formats and contents but also, protect the existing digital contents. Just as the Print media system copyright laws have very specific laws protecting their author, these laws have ensured there are little to no cases of copyright infringement. Otherwise, the chastisement for the law breakers are well defined. Unlike the in the digital arena, the main difference is that there are a significant number of loopholes, easy and free access to online contents. This recommendation if employed, online contents and their exclusive owners will be guaranteed the legitimate existence, without the fear of lost intellectual property rights (Howard, 2011). Therefore, if such a legislative system can be constructed and implemented on an international scale, then there will be significant hopes for managing the flow of online information.

In conclusion, the only effective way for which online contents can be managed under copyright laws can only be achieved by redefining the laws based on the nature and the direction of the technologies that are driving the industry. In this way, there will be a legal framework for which the online contents will be effectively managed, in return, ensuring the that authors and publishers get the rewards of from their efforts.


Adrian, J. (2010). Piracy: The intellectual property wars from Gutenberg to Gates. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Boyd, D. &. (2012). Critical questions for big data: Provocations for a cultural, technological, and scholarly phenomenon. Information, communication & society, 15(5) , 662-679.

Cornish, W. L. (2013). Intellectual property: patents, copyright, trademarks & allied rights. London: Sweet & Maxwell.

Couldry, N. (2012). Media, society, world: Social theory and digital media practice. UK: Polity Press.

Darrell, K. B. (2014). Issues in Internet law: society, technology, and the law. NY: Amber Book Company.

Finnemann, N. O. (2011). Mediatization theory and digital media. Communications-the European Journal of Communication Research, 36(1) , 67-70.

Howard, P. N. (2011). The role of digital media. Journal of democracy, 22(3) , 35-48.

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StudyBounty. (2023, September 14). Copyright Standards for Online and Printed Material.


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