Based on current behaviors in many industries, how likely it is that copyright laws will change in the near future?

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M.P. Ossa | College Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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If we go back in time as early as 1998, we will find a report titled Project Looking Forward: Sketching the Future of Copyright in a Networked World written by Prof. Troter Hardy, of The College of William and Mary.

This executive report, already served as an indicator of how changing trends in technology go hand in hand with changes in copyright law. The reason for this is because the Internet has made it extremely fast and easy to edit and add new information instantly.

As a result, a myriad of new creations, prospective programs, codes, domains, and even web-art is created in seconds by people around the world at the same time. How do we know, in a world so immensely globalized, whether an invention that we consider our own has not already been created somewhere else? It is not just the fact that there is a lot of information in the world-wide web; the problem also is that the information is so ubiquitous that it renders us unable, or too overwhelmed, to search in every corner what is original material versus what is copyrighted material.

The report reads

Copyright law, and particularly the Copyright Office registration process, will be faced with an enormous amount of frequently changing information displays, raising the issues of both copyright registration of rapidly-changing works, and the copyright of derivative works.

Hence, it is interesting to see that as long ago as 1998 there was already a concern about how producing work that will be published on the Web would affect intellectual property rights.
This being said, we can only look into the past to see that the laws have changed considerably as of 2013. There have been copyright battles regarding the patents of cell phone technology (Apple vs. Samsung).

There was also the case of Hollywood versus DeCSS which is a hacking program designed by a 16 year old that de-encrypts information contained on DVDs and puts the code out for grabs so that anybody in the Internet can copy and watch movies for free. These are just examples of how a changing and advancing society does not come without a price to pay; as humans become more technologically savvy and our communication skills become more sophisticated so do the skills of hackers and copiers who stop at nothing when they want to steal other people’s ideas.

Therefore, what we will see is that, as creativity will become undeniably ample, more laws will have to be put in place to delineate what technology was patented first, who developed what first, and when programs, codes, domains, even avatars are formed. Time-stamping will be a huge issue in the future and may make the main difference in copyright law.

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