Today, a great number of people engage heavily and rely on media, to remain updated, connected and expressed. With the advancements of technology and the development of an immense public sphere, this form of consumption is now more accessible than ever.
With this, it leads to the involvement of media regulations, to put it simply it is a term regarded as “a law, rule, prescribed by authority, especially to regulate conduct”(Dictionary.com, 2016). The media therefore has a central role to play in the freedom of information and freedom of expression; Governments are often recognised to dislike influential alternatives to content use or critical voices outside traditional standards. The presence of media regulation too, could be vital and key in protecting audiences from harmful information that may negatively influence them. For instance in China, a nationwide online restriction system exists (The Great Firewall Of China). It is the main instrument to achieve Internet censorship. These CPC regulations include criminalizing certain online speech and activities, blocking from view selected websites, and filtering key words out of searches initiated from computers located in Mainland China.
Media regulation comes in different forms and context, whether it involves the download and streaming of services that include films, music, television, etc. It highlights legal and ethical attitudes toward media consumption, on one side of the spectrum it highlights the openness of information online, being free, convenient and given the purpose to take advantage of, the other side conveys the detrimental impact on media industries alike.
I bet you’re familiar with this…
So what are the implications of the copious amount of downloading and obtaining of content online? 70% of online users found nothing wrong in online piracy, whereby the music industry suffers an average of $12.5 billion in economic losses each year due to illegal download (GoGulf, 2011). There are some cases where media regulations have been continuously ignored, where individuals have been prosecuted due to their actions: A 29 year old Rhode Island man was fined $650,000 for unauthorised downloading and sharing of a total of 30 songs. Though this seems to be a rare occurrence, we hardly ever see these forms of punishment in a world where these acts are normal and can be seen as a black market of illicit content.
As a musician, I have a sense of empathy and understand the impacts of piracy on the industry and the work of an artist. Since the days of Limewire, I have not subjected myself to illegal audio services and rely on physical CDs/vinyls and the use of paid applications such as Spotify and Telstra’s previous MOG; where you pay a monthly subscription for unlimited streaming amenities. Remix culture today allows and encourages derivative works within music, film, etc by combining or editing existing content, producing new product. Remixes today are developed off one main foundation whereby it is then altered remaking and continuing the story. Mass audiences are taken into a realm of possibilities and imaginations therefore continuing this remix domino effect, where a once passive space is now an active one.
Does this breach and violate copyright and media regulations? Weird Al Yankovic uses already establish work within in creations in music parody, though and majority of the time does not need permission from the original composers. Reason being that the U.S laws of ‘Free Speech’ and ‘Fair Use’ protect Weird Al’s work, expressed here.
Media regulations are all around the technological generation, it is up to the users and the way they engage with mediums and platforms to abide by or function against them. The digital space has therefore been affected where consequences of our online presence can impact our physical lives and with the rise of the internet we are seen as a generative population that instinctively make use of the information and opportunities that present themselves in forms of diverse media.