All those topics that i wish i had time to pursue more earnestly.
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Posts from — July 2009

my current perspective on copyright, creative commons and copyleft

Here is my position on Creative Commons and Copyleft… they are bandaids that hide a gaping wound by stemming the tide of part of the blood.

Here is the problem.  Copyright is supposed to protect the rights of the producer who fixes expression onto media for distribution.  However, copyright has become, through its expansion to programming languages, related algorythmic expression and similar extensions a way to protect the rights of the most powerful distributor of expressed knowledge.  That is, copyright fails to make clear the difference between the knowledge and the expression of knowledge, because it fails to limit the techniques of enclosure that seek to put copyright on expressed knowledge in order to limit access to that knowledge.  In short, I argue that copyright has slid into the realm of a form closer to the intent of the patent.  It will take several laws to changes this.  Policy alone won’t work.

What role does CC and copyleft have in this issue?  They are licenses that recognize the current copyright system as valid, that is to say they recognize that people can put a copyright on an expression of knowledge, and thus come to own that expression, and if they cover enough expressions of said knowledge they can defend that expression in court.  However, because people can license things under copyright and ‘give them away’ or enter into other terms of contract.  There is no felt necessity for resolving the real problem of copyright.  For if it is in your interest to resist copyright, you now have a legal framework to do so that does not require any legal change, but in all likelihood could be wiped out by one of the forthcoming treaties or other similar changes.  Thus what one has done by entering into a license such as these is reified the regime they exist within, not resisted it in any way.  It is like people in a park playing frisbee(tm), some are playing with a copyrighted expression and others have said, I’ll play with a frisbee that i’ll paint black, and paint  a different logo on it. It is the same basic problem, only they are performing the problem slightly differently in order, they think to make a point, but what it only does is detract from the point that the people with the frisbee brand frisbee(tm) are playing the same games and having the same fun they have always had and you are just performing the same form of fun in the same park, with the same rules.  Both are perpetuating the game of frisbee, they are defining the field by their play, and really changing nothing.  Similarly, CC and copyleft are playing the game of copyright, maintaining the system through their actions instead of actively trying to change it in a meaningful manner.

July 30, 2009   No Comments