Copyright, copyright laws, copyright reform, technical communication, technical writing
Copyright law, in general, is a multi-faceted and sometimes difficult to understand process. Although it is law, it is often not straight-forward and cannot be applied universally. While the concepts of copyright infringement and plagiarism may sometimes overlap, many confuse one for the other or think they are the same offense. This thesis is intended to serve as a primer to some basic aspects of copyright law for technical communicators, including issues surrounding public domain works, the fair use doctrine, the copyright clearance process, as well as why we should be concerned about our current copyright laws. Over the past few decades, Congress has increased the number of copyright extensions, and these extensions are pushing out works that were to expire into the public domain. This thesis provides details about the growing copyright reform movement to explore the possibilities of making our culture more egalitarian and democratic when it comes to the exchange of ideas and information. Those who support copyright reform believe current copyright laws increasingly favor corporations and special interest groups rather than the public, and insist on a balance in copyright laws to loosen some of the restrictions. This thesis illustrates the importance of the knowledge of copyright and its associated laws for technical communicators especially in these current times. With the growth of the Internet within the last 20 years, some of the core concepts of how copyright works for the analog age present some challenges when translated into our digital age. Young professionals - particularly those working in web-based media - are faced with some contradicting ideas on copyright, sharing, and piracy, especially when surrounded by peers who perpetuate incorrect notions about these topics. Technical communicators also need to be aware of the risks they run if they choose to ignore the law (or choose to remain ignorant of it), but, on a deeper level, they also need be prepared to deal with the philosophical and ethical inquiries that tie into the concept of copyright. This thesis also provides practical applications of the knowledge of copyright laws for technical communicators.
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Master of Arts (M.A.)
College of Arts and Humanities
English; Technical Communications Track
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Arts and Humanities -- Dissertations, Academic; Dissertations, Academic -- Arts and Humanities
Chao, Mariana, "On Copyright Law: What Technical Communicators Need to Know" (2014). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 4690.