Creativity Isn’t For Free!

TV shows, cartoons , movies,  books, and songs have been entertaining us since we were little kids. Artists, directors, authors, actors behind our favourite creations make sure that they provide for our need of entertainment. But were we loyal to them? Did we respect their rights?

An aesthetic creation is a composition of skills, hard work, creativity, thinking of a person or a group of people. These creations of the mind are identified as ‘property’ before the law. They are not just property but intellectual property. Even though the law recognizes these creations as property, the society has failed to. How would you feel if people come and enjoy property owned by you, on their own terms with no regard to how you feel? Just as you have rights over your tangible property, creators too have rights over their creations. These rights are known as copyrights.

Most of the people who claim to be ‘die hard’ fans prefer unauthorized and free websites which contain pirated copies, rather than resorting to legit platforms with paywalls such as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon movies, Apple music, Spotify. These so-called fans have justifications for their immoral conducts as well

The most ridiculous justification is that they pay for the data they consume. Such payments for data consumption are directed only to your internet service provider and not a single penny is paid for the creator of the artwork. If you take a taxi and go to a supermarket, does paying for the taxi give you the right to buy goods for free from the supermarket? Same principle applies to intellectual property in the cyber atmosphere . 

Another justification is the non-affordability of legit platforms. Once again, does being poor justify stealing or consuming stolen goods? If you can’t afford food from a fancy restaurant, the more ethical and legal option would be choosing an affordable restaurant to dine and not steal. Similarly if you can’t afford legit platforms, you may resort to affordable platforms such as Television, without accessing unauthorized websites.

Some enjoy these creations for free and through illegal means on the justification that these copyright owners who already make a fortune would not be significantly affected by the illegal means of accessing their creations. Even if that’s true, what right do we have to decide someone else’s income? Simply said, stealing is stealing whether you steal from the rich or the poor.

I have come across social media posts advertising these platforms that provide pirated copies of creations as ‘friends of the poor’. In my view it should be corrected as ‘helping hand for the thieves’. How can you call yourself a die hard fan, when you don’t even value the creation?

Creations can also be misused due to lack of knowledge regarding intellectual property. I myself used to consume pirated copies I got from my cousins. However, over time I understood how illegal and immoral what I was doing truly was, which made me switch to using legit platforms.

The State and the creators should come together to address this issue by spreading awareness regarding intellectual property and intellectual property rights. The government’s involvement is important as it has a responsibility to protect all rights including intellectual property rights, particularly in view of the positive impact that intellectual property can make on a country’s economy. The government should take measures to establish a proper enforcement system to address intellectual property matters.

Regardless of whether the copyright owner initiates action or the State enforces the law, we as humans have to decide whether we’re going to show our gratitude and value the creations that kept us entertained since we were little. Being honest is a choice.

Penned By Rtr. Janindu Balalle

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