The new millennium brings a more widespread and intensified Digital Age with wider internet use. Nikolai Kondratiev (a soviet economist) hypothesized that industrial countries of the world have experienced successive waves of growth and decline since the beginning of the industrial revolutions (Stutz & Warf, 2005:178). Subsequent scholars have argued that currently we are living in an information technology wave (known as Kondratiev’s 5th Wave) since 1980s. Hence the digital age significantly influenced the business world today, leading to e-commerce and e-business activities.
Communications technology and computer technology converged and led to a ‘new techno economic paradigm’, which is characterized by low costs of storing, processing and communicating information (Stutz & Warf, 2005). Consequently arises the need for a more comprehensive and enforced digital copyright protection that protects expression of ideas and stimulates authors’ creativity.
Copyright means an exclusive right to do or authorize others to do certain acts in relation to 1) literary, musical and artistic works,(2)Cinematograph film and (3) Sound recordings. The object of copyright law is to encourage authors,composers,artists and designers to create original works by rewarding them with the exclusive right for a limited period to exploit the work for money gain.technological progress has made reproduction of copyright material easy and cheap.The object of the copyright law is to protect the author of the copyright work from an unlawful reproduction or exploitation of his work by others.
The impact that the digital age is now having on the copying and distribution of content is also significant. For example, a song can be digitally recorded, stored and then easily distributed in a high quality format to others.Take for example peer-to-peer file sharing (P2P) networks, like Kazaa, that facilitate the distribution of music. Through these networks materials are disseminated quickly and cheaply with the use of simple personal computers. These networks contain a wide variety of content because users not only download, but also share what they have (also known as uploading) by allowing their files to be accessed by other peers all over the world.
And while once the main players in the distribution process were the extensive networks of distributors and other commercial enterprises, nowadays anyone can just push a button and get what they want. As a result, simple consumers have been able to attain the role of creator, recreator and mass distributor of unauthorized works that are still protected by intellectual property Rights.
In 1909, Beaufort argued that individuals don’t have the means to infringe copyright on demand However, due to a significant number of technological developments in the digital industry, this statement is no longer accurate. Technology has constantly predominated copyright law in both a positive and negative way. For example, copyright holders now benefit from cheaper production and distribution costs associated with their works due to enhanced copiers, but also experience the negative impact that technology has on their exploitation rights.