Recently, Taylor Swift has criticised the trial programme of Apple for failing to pay artists for 3 months while she trademarked phrases like ‘this sick beat’, ‘nice to meet you, where you been?’ or ‘party like it’s 1989’. In this case, IP creates an interesting question: how far is far enough when it comes to protection of personal property? For years, copyright was pushed to its limit that are now too extreme. The protection of artists overcomes anything you would normally expect when it comes to copyright, e.g. in some jurisdictions moral rights last forever and, almost in every jurisdiction, copyright lasts 70 years after the death of the author. If you are an artist, this may seem reasonable, but is it so? I think that work should be compensated and that innovation should be encouraged, however, where should we draw the line? She claims that het attitute is for the next generation of artists, but is it? The next generation of artists will be/are formed on youtube and they do not have preconceptions when it comes to covers, parodies or free access to their music. I was recently listening to this singer (an youtube one with more than few million followers) and she was in favour of free access to her music. She said that there were other ways for her to make profit and that the scope of her art was to reach people not to be overpriced. This opinion is what our generation thinks of music/arts in general. Most of us pay for music, but others cannot afford it …should they be prevented from listening to it then?
Additionally, let’s think about patents. In order to create a pharmaceutical patent, the cost may reach 1 billion dollars but the protection is limited to 20 years extendable 5 more years under strict circumstances (with territorial protection). Thus, this is the reason why medicine for illnesses that are not profitable never sees the light (as pharmaceutical companies cannot recover their initial investment). Patents also apply to inventions or technology. Therefore, if you are an inventor or a pharmaceutical company with the potential to change the world with your work, you are protected for only 20 years if you register. But, if you are Taylor Swift your work is protected …. hmm …forever (or 70 years after death)? Interesting …right?
It is important to stress that my intention is not to say that copyright is not important or that it should not be used at all. However, in an era where sharing and evolution are taking over, such a harsh protection seems unnecessary. So, I leave you with this: where does the individual rights end and the society’s rights begin?