Copyright Infringement Essay

Submitted By rrucker217
Words: 1979
Pages: 8

Russel Rucker
Prof. Davis
English 101
29 April, 2014
Research Paper
Copyright Infringement The United States Constitution states that, “The Congress shall have Power... to promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and their Discoveries” (US Const. Art. I, Sec. 8, C1. 8). This is the underpinning of the Copyright Act of 1976, which states, “an 'original recording' is any article on which sounds or images, or both, have been recorded with the authorization of the holder of the copyright for the material recorded.” Copyright laws are placed to defend creators of original works. “Copyright infringement is the violation of copyright law through the illegal use of protected material” (Wankel). Any article written, lyric sung, or image painted belongs to its creator. “’Counterfeit recording’ means any article on which sounds or images, or both, have been copied from an original recording, without the authorization of the holder of the copyright for the material recorded” (“Copyright Act of 1976”). Without the permission of the creator of a work, copied work is counterfeit work. Copyright infringement increases yearly in society, strips artists of rewards for their hard work, and can have serious penalties. The Copyright Act of 1976 states, “Any person who sells or rents counterfeit recordings, or possesses counterfeit recordings for the purpose of sale or rental, shall be guilty of a class A misdemeanor if natural person, or guilty of a class B felony if any other person.” Copyright infringement can take forms in music, film, literature, and even photography, and those found guilty pay a heavy price. Most cases of copyright infringement, where the defendant is found guilty, award hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars to the plaintiffs. Infringing on others' work can hurt infringers more than it helps them. One of the most famous cases in music copyright is Three Boys Music v. Michael Bolton. The Isley Brothers released a song in 1966 called “Love Is a Wonderful Thing.” In 1991, Michael Bolton released a song under the same name and even with some of the same lyrics. Bolton's song infringed upon the Isley Brothers’ song. Bolton defended himself, saying that there was insufficient evidence in the judge's findings, but the judge ruled in the Isley Brothers' favor. Bolton and the record company associated with him, Sony, was required to pay $5.4 million to the Isley Brothers (Green 210-212). The awarded $5.4 million to the Isley Brothers is the greatest sum ever given in association with a case of plagiarism in music. There are huge consequences when an artist infringes on another artist's song. Another famous court case involving music piracy is Bright Tunes Music v. Harrisons Music. George Harrison released a song in 1971 called, “My Sweet Lord.” He released the song under the Apple label, and it became number one and remained on the charts for twenty-seven weeks. Yet, in 1962, the Chiffons came out with a song titled “He's so Fine.” They came out with the song before George Harrison signed under the Bright Tunes Music Corp label in 1971. Both songs were essentially similar, with minor differences between note and chords. Eventually, the case went to court, and the judge was in favor of Bright Tunes Music, resulting in $587,000 in damages to the Chiffons (Green 210-212). Musicians are not the only people being accused of infringement. Movie directors like James Cameron are being accused by screenwriter directors like Elijah Schkeiban of stealing ideas. James Cameron, director of The Terminator, Titanic, and Avatar, was accused of stealing ideas from Elijah Schkeiban, novelist and screenwriter of Bats and Butterflies. Schkeiban accused Cameron of stealing ideas that were incorporated in Cameron's popular movie, Avatar. Schkeiban argued that elements such as a “weak hero” and a plot twist where the “bad