4 Ways Copyright Law Actually Controls Your Whole Digital Life

Consumerist sinks their teeth into digital copyright. A murky territory, for sure, with absolutists all around, swinging wildly and hoping to draw blood. Is there a way through this morass? The first step is mapping the territory. So here we go…


We all know that copyright law means you shouldn’t download copies of movies from shady torrent sites, and that you should pay for the music you listen to. We know it means people and companies have rights to stuff they make, like photos and music and books, and that there are legal and illegal ways of sharing those things.

But what most of us don’t really think about is how broad the net of copyright law really is.

Nominally, copyright protects content creators. If you write a book, or sing a song, or take a photograph, you have the right to control distribution of — to make money from — your original work. And, for a period of time, you are the only one with that right. If you take a picture, I can’t then print a copy and sell it for money without your explicit permission, because you have…

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