Copyright law is in no way a form of censorship. Copyright law is something completely different, and the effect of the law is the exact opposite of censorship. Copyright law protects the rights to a person’s hard earned intellectual property, so that others cannot make monetary gain from the work of others without compensation, approval, or obtaining rights to do so. Anyone can write or produce what they wish, regardless of wealth, power, or standing in our society, and be protected from theft or misuse of their work.
Copyright law contains powerful exclusions which allows enormous freedom to use protected intellectual property without compensating the creator: for educational purposes, for critical review, or for reporting on the material. As far as obtaining the benefits of material without having to pay for it, the material can be obtained through public libraries.
But the content is also protected from its use in ways that affiliate the artist and the work to undesirable political or social causes, or which distort its meaning and intent, all while attributing affiliation to the objectionable cause, or the distorted meaning and intent to the content’s creator.
The content is a valuable asset, the sale of which provides income for the creator. There is no right inherent in any enterprise, which allows someone to steal someone’s valuable asset and, without their permission or compensation, use it to make income.
There is no right inherent to any enterprise that allows the theft and redistribution of copyrighted material for any reason, and there never should be.
Copyrighted material is not produced in a financial vacuum of cost free production. Money was invested in production, performance, maintaining a subsistence while writing a work, printing, publicizing and publishing a work. Money is invested in hiring musicians, performance artists, directors, dancers, technicians and a host of others in order to make income from the sales of music recordings and videos. If the money is not recovered, incrementally, over time, then those who make a living by working on music recordings will not be hired to work on more recordings.
Now there’s censorship. Great artists are put out of work and do not get to express anything.
Theft of copyrighted material is a crime that has thousands of victims, with the potential to insure that millions more don’t even get any material at all, let alone to steal.
Massive amounts of money are invested in developing, producing, and executing films. That money has to be recovered over time through the sales of theater tickets or recorded media, or many of the same individuals who made their living on the last film will not be able to work on the next one.
The idea that the intellectual property of artists should just be handed out to everyone for free is a destructive one which will insure that only the elite, the exceedingly wealthy, or the briefly alive starving artist will be able to think, create, or work.
Copyright laws allowed for anyone, regardless of status, wealth or title, to express their ideas and art, while preventing censors and thieves from modifying the material without approval or from profiting from theft.
Without copyright protection, along with aggressive protection of our rights to our work, we will descend back in to an era where it will be only the wealthy who can afford to work without compensation, or the powerful who channel the society’s money, not the people, who will decide what is to be heard, read, or viewed.
Now, there’s censorship.