“In 1783 several authors’ petitions persuaded the Continental Congress “that nothing is more properly a man’s own than the fruit of his study, and that the protection and security of literary property would greatly tends to encourage genius and to promote useful discoveries.” But under the Articles of Confederation, the Continental Congress had no authority to enact copyright law. The Continental Congress did passed a resolution urging the States to “secure to the authors or publishers of any new book not hitherto printed… the copy right of such books for a certain time not less than fourteen years from the first publication; and to secure to the said authors, if they shall survive the term first mentioned… the copy right of such books for another term of time no less than fourteen years.  Three states had already enacted copyright statutes in 1783 prior to the Continental Congress resolution, and in the subsequent three years all of the remaining states except Delaware passed a copyright statute. Seven of the States followed the Statute of Anne and the Continental Congress’ resolution by providing two fourteen-year terms. The five remaining States granted copyright for single terms of fourteen, twenty and twenty one years, with no right of renewal.”
This in itself is my introduction, an excerpt, taken from digital media. Does Wikipedia know that I have taken this and used it for my own purpose to make the attempt to show the issues with copyright law and its introduction to the digital art world? Not a chance.
Copyright law in its earliest form was a step forward in culture, whether is was written, art or photography; not only to force artists to create their own ideas and ensure that originality was pursued, but also to protect those who actually took that step to stay original. Without copyright law in our culture, there would be a heightened possibility that nothing would be original. If this had never existed, anyone and everyone could take bits and pieces, or by that even the completed sum of ones work, and claim it to be their own. Art would not exist because creation would no longer have relevance. Our world would have the possibility of becoming dull and boring, and in itself, no longer beautiful.
Where is the relevance to this in the digital art world? This is where it causes complications. In the digital world, it is nearly impossible to enforce these laws to their full extent. As I pulled the quotes from Wikipedia, anyone can pull anything they’d like from the internet. How is someone supposed to enforce copyright law to its full extent if anyone can have access to essentially anything at any time? People no longer “sample” their media, they “take” it. To protect ones work is essential, however, in the world we live in now, there is no possible way to fully do so. So called “Pirates” have been sailing their theoretical ships on the waves on the internet in order to claim their treasures as they see fit, in our worlds of music, movies, art, photography, ect.
If copyright law could be enforced I truly believe our world would be much more diverse and beautiful than it already is. The creation of the digital art world is an amazing thing. The ability to share your work with the mass market is incredible to think of, when a hundred years ago we may have been only able to share our creations with a thousand people, now it is hundreds of thousands.
“It(copyright laws) creates a situation where one MUST create something new and original…getting ideas and perspective from a peers work is never discouraged, but having these laws forces an artist to create something different…something beautiful.”
-Corey Streeter, artist, friend.