Monday, August 01, 2005

Copyright, Copyfight, copy this...

What Does "Copyfight" Mean?

(via Making Light and PNH's sidelights)

There's a lot of intra linking in the article itself but the core of it espouses a view I believe; that the underlying principles of copyright and intellectual property are to foster creative thinking, creative expression and innovation, not restrain it.

This articles touches on some of the more egregious IP restrictions; such as making poorer countries (and people) have to pay outrageous sums for innovation in medicines and technology. It's like the genetically superior seed strains that corporate farm supplies are trying to get patented and trademarked so that farmers have to buy new seed every year rather than being able to reseed from their own crops.

It's one of the reasons the Electronic Frontier Foundation was created: (from their "about page)

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) was created to defend our rights to think, speak, and share our ideas, thoughts, and needs using new technologies, such as the Internet and the World Wide Web. EFF is the first to identify threats to our basic rights online and to advocate on behalf of free expression in the digital age.

I still think it comes back to the pervasive attitude of scarcity; that there aren't enough resources or ideas or opportunities for everyone so the urge to hoard them -- even when doing so isn't in your own best interest in the long term -- is rampant. But that only explains individual behaviors. For the corporate behavior, it's all about greed and it's a rare company that can show me they're doing it primarily to increase the profits of their shareholders as individuals.

I'm rapidly becoming a fan of the CreativeCommons school of reserving some but not all rights to work, which has a wide array of mix and match rights that can be assigned: say Attribution and non-commercial: So you could allow someone to write or produce derivative works off your own as long as they a) credit you and b) don't try to profit from the work.

Just imagine what could be accomplished if a little more common sense was introduced into the mix.


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