Mass Media Law and the Problem of Copyright

Topics: Copyright, Property, Copyright law Pages: 10 (3547 words) Published: November 10, 2012
Mass Media Law and the Problem of Copyright

The Law of Mass Media

Media law in general is an area of the law which covers media communications of all sorts and sizes. Specialists in this field may work for individual companies, handling legal issues which come up in the course of doing business. They can also work for organizations which provide advocacy to people who run afoul of the law, or have private practices with consulting services and other forms of legal assistance available to clients. In order to become a media lawyer, it is necessary to attend law school and complete a concentration in media law, an option which is not offered at all law schools. There are three general areas of interest within media law. The first is print media, including newspapers, magazines, print advertising and so forth. The second is telecommunications, including radio and television broadcasting. Finally, digital communications and the Internet are a broad field within media law, and as the Internet evolves, this frontier is constantly changing. Mass media law refers to the collective set of laws that protect or limit media or the consumers from different issues that may arise from the use or exposure to mass media. Television, Internet, newspapers, magazines, and film are just some of the few examples of mass media that are governed by this set of laws. However, each form of mass media is subject to different laws under the general heading of mass media law given that each form of media interacts differently with the consumers. This broad legal term can encompass many issues such as copyright or trademark infringement, libel, slander, censorship, privacy, confidentiality, and freedom of information. The aforementioned are the most common disputes argued over in terms of mass media law With modern communications technologies, the mass media has the ability to affect many people in a variety of ways. The laws that govern these communications can be complicated and have far-reaching results. Many of the suits brought by media lawyers involve copyright infringement, defamation, censorship, and privacy. Copyright law is one of the main ways that mass media law is involved in communications industries. Copyrights apply to print, visual, audio, and digital media. Individuals and corporations own copyrights on creative communications or works, and media law often attempts to protect those rights. Copyright holders may require legal aid if their rights are contested, or if the creative work is copied without authorization, or pirated. Also, copyright law allows reproduction rights to be purchased. For example, a filmmaker may wish to purchase rights in order to make a movie based on a previously published book. Another legal field within mass media law is defamation law. There are two main types of defamation – slander and libel. Both categories require the offending statements or visual representations to have a negative impact on the reputation on the person being defamed.

The Problem of Copyright in Modern World

Demonstrating ownership of a car or a house may involve producing a title or deed or bill of sale, something tangible which establishes the exclusive rights of the owner. But how does one demonstrate these same ownership rights of poems or photographs or other creative works? The answer is called copyright. Copyright is a legal concept, enacted by most governments, giving the creator of an original work exclusive rights to it, usually for a limited time. Generally, it is "the right to copy", but also gives the copyright holder the right to be credited for the work, to determine who may adapt the work to other forms, who may perform the work, who may financially benefit from it, and other, related rights. It is an intellectual property form (like the patent, the trademark, and the trade secret) applicable to any expressible form of an idea or information that is substantive and discrete. Copyright initially was conceived...
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