The Sharing Economy and Copyright

Address the challenges of copyright and protecting Intellectual Property (IP) rights in the 21st century. The logistics of our “sharing economy” create a situation where it is very easy to share, distribute, publish, and reuse other people’s work – usually without permission – and thereby breaking the law.

Our challenge is to strike the balance between acting ethically while still participating in this sharing economy that is facilitated by social media and widespread access to the internet. Many industries wrestle with this quandary – the readings this week look at the music, software, and fashion industries. In addition, the idea of “Creative Commons” licensing is introduced.

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So, for your journal post, consider and respond to the following questions:

* In light of the current sharing economy and widespread use/reuse of other people’s work, do you feel that it is time for a revisiting of copyright laws? Do you feel that the current approach to regulating Intellectual Property (IP) is effective and still useful in the digital age that we live in? Defend your thoughts and explain.

* In shifting to the ethical mindset of the course, what factors do you think drive people to violate copyright on a regular basis? Why do good people continue to illegally download, share, pirate and copy music or other materials from the internet? What is the “but” that happens when someone says to themselves “I know this picture is copyright protected and using it is wrong, BUT……”

* Lastly, discuss the process that you go through as you consider accessing, using and sharing someone else’s work in both a social and an academic situation. Are those two situations different? If you reuse someone’s work in an academic setting, do you act differently than when you reuse someone else’s work in your personal life? If so, why? Try to clarify the difference and to explain your thought process.

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