The Center for Copyright Information has launched its Copyright Alert System, an educational campaign aimed at reinforcing copyright laws through a “six-strike” process, including multiple warnings before punitive measures kick in (see Platforms). Among the main targets of the initiative are parents who may not be aware of their copyrightinfringing teens. However, as the father of a teenager, I have come to realize that kids “get” copyright.
Kids might not think when they are illegally downloading movies, but they understand very well when they are on the receiving end and social media is the culprit. Take the fiasco last year when Instagram announced new terms and conditions. My 14-year-old daughter, a heavy Instagram user, gave me an earful about her rights when the news broke. She was infuriated by the possibility her photos could be sold by Instagram without permission.
This revolution against Instragram is great news for Hollywood, because it shows kids actually understand copyright. My daughter and millions of Instagram users intuitively knew no one had the right to profit from their Instagram photos without permission.
The anti-copyright lobby would have you believe that you shouldn’t feel guilty for stealing music and movies. They imply that because the late Jack Valenti, former head of the MPAA, predicted that the Betamax would destroy the movie industry, that Hollywood is also being alarmist about file-sharing websites. They ignore that while studios invest hundreds of millions in production, file-sharing sites need only pay for a server in Eastern Europe.
However, the anti-copyright lobby has a problem that is illustrated by the Instagram controversy. Anyone who engages in the creative process knows instinctively that they own their work. The Copyright Alert System will help to reinforce the importance of copyright. Maybe Hollywood is starting to defend its works as vigorously as the millions of social-media users.
PJ Kuyper is president and CEO of the Motion Picture Licensing Corp.