Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Freedom Of Expression Is Limited

Words, images and symbols in their various configurations are the substance of free expression. Freedom of expression is one of the fundamental rights provided by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances".

The most basic component of freedom of expression is the right to freedom of speech. This right allows individuals to express themselves without interference or constraint by the government. The right to free speech includes digital mediums of expression that communicate a message.

Creativity and expression do not happen in a vacuum; everyone builds upon work of the past. Existing combinations of words, images and symbols are used for creating new forms of meaning and expression. This is a KNOWN fact. Businesses and individuals profit from owning, controlling and selling the rights to existing works.

Our ability to use and reuse digital content for expression has become difficult due the ownership of intellectual property. Although we theoretically have the Constitutional Right to freedom of expression we are restricted from using existing works owned by others. Nearly everything created is now copyright protected automatically. This fact requires digital artists to KNOW about copyright issues in order to avoid copyright violation.

Digital artists must know what media content is FREE and LEGAL to use. If you do build on the work of others you must know what qualifies for "fair use". If you are not aware of this information you are at RISK of copyright violation. Copyright violation is considered THEFT and can have serious and costly repercussions.

Review the information on this webpage. Learn MORE about the issues of copyright. This is IMPORTANT information!

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