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Intellectual Property

South Africa

Anti-Copyright Sentiments on the Increase

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Anti-copyright groups exist all over the world. The term refers to opposition by groups regarding current copyright laws. Copyright protects the author and creator of original works which are covered under copyright against the unauthorised usage, copying, distribution, sharing, and commercial exploitation thereof without proper permission from the creator. The permission is normally granted by means of a user-agreement license for specific use.

People against anti-copyright groups argue that the artists, authors, publishers, and creators of original works require incentives to invest their time and resources into the creation of the works. As such they are entitled to acknowledgment, control over their works and income from the works. Without copyright protection, there would be no reason for the parties to create the works and as such the development of intellectual property would be severely hindered leaving the world with fewer valuable resources and artworks. Anti-copyright sentiments are not new. Even the famous writer of old, Leo Tolstoy, was against copyright. With most of the anti-copyright groups currently focussed on the legalization of peer to peer file sharing, freedom of information and digital freedom, the opposing sentiment is that the users simply don’t want to pay for products and as such want to justify their illegal usage of the digital works through anti-copyright protests.

Many anti-copyright groups have come out to support peer to peer file sharing where movies, music, and games are downloaded from member computers and then made available through sharing with others. Some of the anti-copyright groups are not against copyright law as such, but argue that there should be adjustments in the laws to make provision for fair use and more digital freedom. In Sweden the Moderate Party in 2008 called for decriminalization of file sharing practices. It seems that the widespread action of file sharing has become so common that new copyright laws will have to be made to adjust to this practice.

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