I was asked if we have a good definition of copyright law (or rather author’s law because we have European construction of that), we don’t, so I started to construct mine, here are some thoughts:
* Copyright is the right to control what others can do with the cultural work which expresses one’s ideas. This work has not to be material – it can be just a sound of music or someones voice while lecturing – no one can even record it without author’s permission. It can be of course a stream of bits as well. In contemporary art it is common that someone else than artist produce the piece of art for him/her, so there is no definition of authorship which will demand personal work input.So, in fact, the copyright is about limiting access and use of the new ideas. Therefore acts contrary to the postulate of innovation.
* Copyright defines how much you can forbid and to whom and under what conditions. Hence it is recognized sometimes as a kind of censorship.
* The opinion that copyright is limited by fair use is all wrong, in fact this is the public domain what is limited by the copyright.