Censorship has been at the forefront of important topics since the beginning of publicizing creations. Especially with the advent of the film and book industries, there has always been an issue with deciding how much credit people get, who should be able to share the rights to something, and how open the source should be.
When it comes to copyright censorship, limitations are definitely needed. However, with the rise of the digital humanities, it is becoming more difficult than ever before to make boundaries between what counts as criticism, reproduction, or just plagiarism. If someone blatantly rips off someone else’s work or blatantly threatens them, freedom of speech should not be granted. Freedom of speech is not the allowance of harm or theft. In cases where people are using humor to make a point or they are taking someone’s work to make constructive progress, freedom of speech is not harmful or used for a type of copying. It is important to ask for permission before reproducing someone else’s work, and it is important to not use enough components of someone else’s work in a sly way as if to hide the influence. Paying tribute and acknowledging people that influenced one’s reproduction must be obvious, and there must be a big enough change to prove as reproduction instead of plagiarism.
I do not believe in censorship when it comes to expressing one’s beliefs. Unfortunately, even the Ku Klux Klan and the Nazis are allowed to parade around for ceremonies regarding their beliefs. As a society, we cannot tell people how they can or cannot limit their speech, because as long as active violence is not occurring, people have every right to say what they mean. Even hate speech is unfortunately a gray area that is difficult to regulate. If people begin to govern everything that they are offended by, everything will eventually be outlawed because everyone is offended by something that maybe someone else is not. We can do what we can to teach people the right way, and we can tell people to stop offending us, but we cannot legally regulate what people believe. There is a big problem right now with both sides of the political spectrum wanting to censor the other side. Republicans for example do not want sexual education to be open to anything other than abstinence education and many also do not want transgenders to share the bathroom of people with their identified gender. Democrats, on the other hand, may also sometimes want people to censor the words they say and not let their religious beliefs limit people based on their sexual orientation, such as the cake serving argument.
Censorship is needed in certain circumstances, but as of now, we have been trying too hard to censor problems that may not be as crucial to deal with as others. Too much censorship can definitely jeopardize our priorities, and we can never seek out everything that is inappropriate or offensive. If we truly want to grant the people in our country the freedom we all have been given in the constitution’s first amendment, we cannot limit anything unless it harms or takes advantage of another person.
Wharton, Robin. “Digital Humanities, Copyright Law, and the Literary.” Digital Humanities Quarterly 7.1 (2013): n. pag. Web. 24 Apr. 2016. <http://www.digitalhumanities.org/dhq/vol/7/1/000147/000147.html>.
Owen, Robert L. “Bill of Rights Copied.” Eastern Illinois University. Library of Congress, 14 Oct. 1942. Web. 24 Apr. 2016. <http://www.eiu.edu/eiutps/billofrights_broadside.gif>.