According to PlagiarismToday, copyright is a law that gives you ownership over the things you create. When it comes to intellectual property (patents, copyright, trademarks), or the legal protection of creative ideas, there are many restrictions when it comes to the freedom of what we share and post online. This can be frustrating for many, as, if someone were to organically come up with an idea of something to create or post, but someone else already created and copyrighted it, they would be legally unable to pursue that idea and claim it as their own for copyright term. According to Laurence Lessig’s article Free Culture, in 1928, the average term of copyright was just around thirty years. But today, under the current laws, copyright protection starts from the moment of creation of the work and continues until 70 years after the death of the author or artist.
But, for many popular artists in today’s media, such as taylor swift (pictured above), who makes their living off of the content they create, it is important to them to trademark and legally protect their creative content and intellectual property so that no one else can distribute and make money off of their work. in 2015, Taylor swift went as far as to file 20 applications to trademark common english words that are used in her songs such as “blank space”, “and I’ll write your name” and “this sick beat” (just to name a few) and even trademarked “1989”, the year of her birth and the name of her latest album.
(via @nystery on Twitter)
Alternatively, some artists may choose to disobey copyright when creating content, for example, artist Robin Thicke has been taken to court over three separate cases of copyright infringements. He has been accused of plagiarising three of the deceased Marvin Gaye‘s 1970s songs for three of his own. The video below shows examples (better listened to with earphones):
According to an article by Andrew Chung, in 2015, a U.S. judge made a copyright infringement verdict against recording stars Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams over their 2013 smash hit “Blurred Lines,” finding that parts of Marvin Gaye’s 1977 hit “Got to Give it Up” were copied by Thicke and Williams for their R&B chart-topper, awarding Gaye’s heirs $7.4 million in damages and profits.
So, whilst the song may be enjoyable and became a number 1 hit in 2013, Thicke breached copyright laws and stole the intellectual property of someone else, exemplifying that copyright applies to everyone and no one is exempt from copyright laws.