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Copyright Law Essay: An Ethical and a Legal Construct


Prepare a copyright law essay draw on the readings and further academic research to discuss the following statements:

- Copyright is as much an ethical construct as it is a legal one.

  • You may wish to agree or disagree with the statement.
  • Use a recent real-world example to demonstrate your points.
  • Draw on ethics theory to support your argument.


Copyright is as much an ethical construct as it is a legal one.

In line with the legal jurisdictions, “copyright is very much considered to be an ethical and moral vision with a rational aspect that people are subjected to.” This essay discusses the possible arguments for this statement. To state it accurately, copyright is a form of autonomous jurisdiction and intellectual property across Australia ( 2020). Copyright laws are essentially ethical morale to comply with. It carries with itself a deontic vision where such issues are regarded as an individual’s ethical sense of being. This means breaching the regulations of copyright jurisdictions is considered to be an unethical act ( 2020). Numerous authors have produced interesting debates concerning copyright issues by specifying certain disagreements. When it comes to such issues, there is a range of argumentative approaches with various people sharing varied views and perceptions. However, in line with the current essay, the argument supports the given statement to a certain extent because of the rightful mindset and expression of thoughts associated with the statement provided. The following sections of the essay would elaborate on this idea in detail so that a well-built and impregnable conclusion can be derived by applying a plethora of theoretical grounds and literature knowledge.

A broad range of literature details is available to acquire a thorough understanding of this issue and form a dual pathway of arguments and logical claims. Different ideas exist regarding what it includes to act ethically or developing an ethical vision when it comes to copyright. On today's date, copyright regulations provide the holder with an official (legal) authority to produce copies of the derivative works as per the original. But violating these laws is considered to be an immoral usage of the same in any profession. The existence of the same is a determining factor that categorically decides if a legal obligation exists. This does not necessarily convey that every aspect of an idea or creativity developed by an individual is ethically protected. To succeed in such a claim, it is pertinent to establish the fact that the communication needs to be confidential and the idea’s core content is identifiable. Besides, all of the formal regulations related to intellectual property is solely an act of stern imagination. This can be better illustrated with the help of a modern-day example. Under the official Terms of Use and Guidelines of Instagram, one of the greatest social platforms, one will be allowed to post content that does not breach the other person's intellectual property rights ( 2020). Whether it is an infrequent post or frequent updates, an Instagram user must be aware of certain copyright aspects that attract the terms and conditions of the social networking site. Hence, Instagram marketers always recommend posting self-made content to ensure that the updates and postings do not violate the predefined copyright laws. Ever since the inception of the social media giant, a lot of instances have accused Instagram of their failed efforts to deal with copyright issues, particularly with photographers. In general, copyrights can be unethically infringed if an individual publishes his post from an original work before the followers on digital media. In Australia, owing to strong copyright laws, the images taken by a specified individual is instantly protected ( 2020). In certain cases, some of the photos have been unethically stolen without the owners’ prior consent and sold elsewhere. This is inevitably an unethical digital activity that would have a humongous consequence. The major issue to be considered in this case is whether to publish any image as own. It falls under the legal and ethical construct of the copyright laws to credit the actual creator of the work because sharing something on Instagram is more like telling the world what has been done. Hence, publishing something unethically must denote a person’s malicious intentions in taking away the original creators’ autonomy and lead to hefty consequences.

All ethical and rational judgments are universally made in line with the normally accepted standards of ethical conduct and commercial morality (Choong 2018). The legal systems consider these commercial customs to understand which of the corresponding practices and behavioural approaches are to be considered inappropriate and unethical. The basic standards of conduct required for highlighting any small business practice can be held as an important segment of ethical construct where individuals with a rational and moral sense of judgment are fairly supposed to discern (Pryor-Darnell, Andersen and Rowling 2019). The fundamental idea here is that a creator would develop original work and sell them at their zeal. This is a normative vision of trade and commerce. But other segments of copyright infringement begin with a vision that does not necessarily focus on respect, fairness, and trade mutuality. For example, such copyright issues created a humongous stir across the globe with the Spanish Vogue where many individuals have been caught and held responsible. Spanish Vogue copied an image originally shot by Sion Fullana, a Spanish photographer, and put it on Instagram. This is one of the biggest examples of copyright infringement which was regarded as an unethical practice by Spanish vogue ( 2020). It is disrespectful and unethical to publish someone else's work on social sites because it shows moral disgrace towards the effort the other individual has put in this activity. Hence, copyright issues can be treated as unethical as well as unlawful activity which is why it is referred to as a prosecutable crime ( 2020).

To provide a deeper insight into such issues, this section of the essay focuses on certain ethical theory/theories that typify a mutual suggestion. Ethical visions provide a sustainable way of considering an intellectual property that neither reducible to traditional approaches nor wholly trivial. It begins with providing an ethical construct wherein an individual inherently considers his ethical views and limits his inappropriate actions. Having done so, such theories impeccably illustrate how such ethical analysis can be employed to recreate normative arguments in this field of research. In this aspect, certain theoretical assumptions are important. Firstly, the theory of virtue ethics also commonly known as Virtue Theory is a stern approach that specifically emphasizes the character of an individual as one of the most fundamental aspects of ethical thinking (Bai 2017). It specifies the moral behavioural pattern of an individual. Hence, copying someone else's work is an immoral act that typifies the unethical features of an individual committing the same. In this aspect, virtues are attributed to dispositions, attitudes, and above all characteristic features that coherently facilitate people to be and act in certain ways that develop an ethical potential. Psychologists across the world believe that if any ethical theory claims to be naturally inherent and compels individuals to be ethical, it is the theoretical presumptions of virtue ethics (Ahrens and Cloutier 2019, p.2). This theory helps an individual develop honesty, compassion, and integrity that restricts them to commit such an unethical and unfair practice. Compared to other theories of Kantianism and Utilitarianism that focus on individual actions or overall intent behind an action, the theory of virtue ethics holds true in the case of copyright issues and ethical visions.

Considering the above-mentioned issues and real-case scenarios, it can be stated that copyright systems fall under the legal as well as the ethical periphery of rational constructs. An ethical vision is required to promote moral behavioural practices among individuals. This includes maintaining the integrity and offering respect to the creativity and work of the original creator. For decades, music, software, and other notable industries have therefore paid so much attention to ameliorating their copyright laws and inculcating a sense of morality against the dishonourable and unscrupulous activity that many people indulge themselves into. The claims established in this essay cast light on establishing a strong overtone where dignity and social virtue appear to be the cornerstone of success and integral value. Besides, the theoretical assumptions that the arguments have been aligned to also upholds the aspects of ethical morality that hinder a person to commit such deceitful activities under any given circumstance. Hence, in conclusion, it can be said that while copyright violation results in serious legal consequences, it impacts others on severe ethical grounds and limits the flexibility of services with time.

References 2020. What Instagram privacy settings and copyright mean for the photos you post. Available at: [Accessed on 31st October 2020].

Ahrens, A.H. and Cloutier, D., 2019. Acting for good reasons: Integrating virtue theory and social cognitive theory. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 13(4), pp.1-12. Available at:

Bai, F., 2017. Beyond dominance and competence: A moral virtue theory of status attainment. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 21(3), pp.203-227. Available at:

Choong, K.A., 2018. Guest editorial-Journal of Medical Law and Ethics. Journal of Medical Law and Ethics, 6(1), pp.1-2. Available at: 2020. Instagram and Copyright. Available at: [Accessed on 31st October 2020]. 2020. Ethics in Copyright. Available at: [Accessed on 31st October 2020]. 2020. How to Avoid Copyright Infringement on Instagram. Available at: [Accessed on 31st October 2020]. 2020. About copyright. Available at: [Accessed on 31st October 2020].

Pryor-Darnell, T.A., Andersen, N. and Rowling, S., 2019. Professional ethics, copyright legislation and the case for collective copyright disobedience in libraries. Journal of the Australian Library and Information Association, 68(2), pp.146-163. Available at:


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