Technology - Digital Video and Copyright Fair Use

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Digital Video and Copyright Fair Use


Video is one of the most compelling forms of communication of this time. Over the course of the past few years, the gradual but sure drift from analog to digital in video technology has not only improved the abilities of visual communication media to distribute data, but has also improved their abilities to manipulate the data that they distribute. Digital video technology has advanced to the extent that still image manipulation has been usurped by more powerful technological developments that allow elements of a video image to be manipulated in real-time. That is, objects or persons in a video image can be edited out or edited in while the image is in broadcast without the slightest glitch to suggest that some change has occurred; everything would look “real.” The advantages that this technology opens for visual media are extensive. Similar to some technologies, however, it opens up an exploitive edge. Pixels are plastic (can be changed) and using them to distort or manipulate reality is an opportunity open to all users of video manipulation tools. The ethics of such uses and the social considerations of how copyright laws would deal with a technology which manipulates digital works of authorship, works to which copyright automatically attaches, are issues worth considering. This paper explores the possible and actual, reputable and less reputable uses of this technology in an attempt to stimulate discussions about how “well-intended” technologies can be utilized by users in unethical and harmful ways. The paper also attempts to see where possible infringements of copyright’s fair use doctrine has occurred or could possibly occur through use of this technology.

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...pinions. Despite the many issues connected to this technology however, the advantages it offers surpass any disadvantages seen thus far.


1. Amato, Ivan. Lying with Pixels, Technology Review, Cambridge, Jul/Aug 2000. p.61.

2. See reference 1 above.

3. See reference 1, p.62.

4. See reference 3 above.

5. Royal Philips Electronics, Imaging : its digital future, Briefing, Volume 3, Issue 2, article no. 19.

6. See reference 1, p.64.

7. See reference 1 p. 65.

8. Samuelson, Pamela. Copyright’s fair use doctrine and digital data, Association for Computing Machinery., Communications of the ACM; vol. 37, Issue 1; New York, 1994. p. 22.

9. See reference 8, p.23.

Additional:- Samuelson, Pamela. Copyright and Digital Libraries. (class material) (Article - Free Video Hosting)
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