Copyright Laws: Yes, You’ve Broken It

Disclaimer: This is the work of “insert creator” and all rights go to “insert creator.”

Recognize this?

I’m sure the millions, possibly billions of you who frequent video sharing services (youtube) do. Lets just say that adding that disclaimer to the top doesn’t do anything except prove you know the content isn’t yours and that you’ve taken it without permission.

Well done you’ve just infringed copyright laws.

First, a little history about when copyright laws started.

Copyright law began with the [1][2]Berne Convention in 1886, which gave authors, musicians, poets, painters, etc, the means to say how their work is to be used, by who and on what terms. There are three main principles that must always for followed and for your convenience I have shorted them.

  1. Principle of national treatment,
  2. principle of automatic protection,
  3. principle of independence of protection.

Basically, a work is given automatic protection from the country where it was created.

It went through rewrites in these years: 1904, 1928, 1948, 1967 and 1971. Look at the final rewrite. The last time copyright law was altered was before the turn of the millennium, about 15 years before computers started entering the households. Before computer works, video recordings, digital photography, social media, post sharing and now online content creation entered the world. And because of the mind blowing rapidness of creation of new works these laws are now almost obsolete in this millennium.

Is it the Conventions fault not seeing this coming? No.

Computers were a miracle that happened to be adopted rapidly by nearly everyone. Not one person nor nation could have seen this coming.

So then why has there been no update since 1971?

That is a legitimately good question. One that can’t be answered in a single article so consider this the beginning of a multi-part article “Copyright Laws” that will cover owner rights, user rights and the pain we all love to hate [3]“Digital Rights Management”.


[1]Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works Paris Act of July 24, 1971, as amended on September 28, 1979

[2]Summary of the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works (1886)

[3]Digital rights management:


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