Week Seven

Module 7.2 : Law & Media

How the Law Affects our Media

The laws that control how the general public interacts within modern media is complex. Some laws attempt to protect our 1st amendment rights, just as other laws control what we can access and how we can interact with it. In some cases, these laws can lead directly to how we obtain and disseminate the information in non-digital environments. In any case, it is almost as if the world of digital media is difficult to understand and that causes mass amounts of confusion and potential legal perils.

We live in a world where our right to privacy on the internet is in a state of constant fluctuation. There are legal attempts to establish our right to privacy and a digital world that seemingly encourages opportunistic individuals that seek to steal that privacy from under our noses.

In the article by Medium, they establish 4 points of privacy relevant to the general public:  Human, Personal, Defensive, and Contextual. Although arbitrary, these categories attempt to define the rights of an individual. The four elements of privacy focus on separating an individual’s personal life from broader exposure and legal protections have been set in place to promote these. False light, appropriation, intrusion and private facts torts are the legal remedies available in theory.

The actual implementation of these laws can vary significantly by degrees of privilege, financial status, and accessibility. I strive to maintain privacy from external pressures, but the laws seem to have gaps that make it difficult to protect myself. For example, our past and current administration fight tooth and nail to limit our only significant lines of digital defense, encryption. As leading technology companies fight to maintain our privacy, (likely for financial interests) the judicial branch of our government looks to craft limitations.

Beyond personal privacy, copyright laws surround almost every portion of every interaction I have with almost every form of media. When these laws are applied to corporate interests, a wildly different world of elitism and special circumstance make me aware of my insignificance. I have encountered and I am aware of a variety of situations where I and smaller producers of media are potentially at a loss for efficient protections.

Copyright law is meant to serve as a protect-all for intellectual content, but the actual application often favors those in charge. I have had a few social media posts be flagged for media I included that are not significant portions of the original works. Many of the YouTubers I watch frequently are flagged unnecessarily. As a result, they fear demonetization and have no resources to defend themselves. The monolithic corporations have virtually no need to be accurate and largely face no repercussions. Authentic art is the loser in this battle, but the laws were originally crafted to protect the same artists.

Unfortunately, I am not currently at a place of effective defiance or organized opposition to the powers that rule. This does not mean I will bough my head and disengage, instead, I will fight to learn my rights, formulate self-preservation techniques, and help to devise content that is in a state of effective compliance albeit formulated resistance.