Archive of "Copyright"

Archive for the "Copyright" Category

Free Content Licences

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Fred Beneson:
As far as I understand it the GPL, (like most other licenses including CC, etc.) doesn’t require prosecution explicitly in the case of a violation of its terms, so much as it requires a cessation of distribution of the binaries or offending files.

Copyright law never requires prosecution.  It only allows for it.  Historically, GPL’ed projects have requested cessation of distribution or an opening of the source as out of court settlement.  The GPL cannot really require this, however, it can only specify the terms under which one can use the copyrighted work.  Thus, suing for damages is a right under law of the copyright holders on GPL’ed code when the GPL is violated, same as it is for copyright holders on All Rights Reserved works.  All other (more common) results are just projects being “nice” and handling out of court settlements.


CopyCamp Summary

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Some of you may have seen my heightened Twitter activity for CopyCamp, an unconference for discussing issues concerning copyright. Government representatives, artists, and geeks alike spent a day and a half discussing licensing, business models, DRM (TCMs), and many more things. I took some notes, here are some summaries:

Production Tools

Related to how content we distribute should be licensed is the question of what tools / formats are being used in content production. People should be able to use any tools they want without being limited by what tools others / their audience / publishers use. The solution here is, of course, open formats – but open formats must be widespread to be usable. Users should not have to think about what they’re doing, it should transparently work.

Users often honestly don’t know there are options in tools – they just use what they’re given / trained on. While this should be possible to do (see above) education about options and competition is good. Some users are more comfortable going a roundabout way than using the better way / tool – this is fine, but when they encounter new mediums / techniques they should be given the “right” option as much as possible.

Someone can be a brilliant artist unable to afford the tools. Should the ability to do art be a right (ala education)? What about the ability to create documents (such as business plans) that are part of how we function. [I don’t think so, although I am a FLOSS supporter and would like to see more of this, I don’t think the government should be involved.]

Does the value of a piece of art come from the art itself or what you can do with that art? [I think both in all cases.]

Net Neutrality

Phone and cable companies (the major bandwidth providers) build business models based on having a smart network and dumb terminals – the Internet is a dumb network with smart terminals. Do telcos own the network? The government legislated their right to use the land, they just own the copper. The citizens really have as much right to it as the telcos. We can separate production from distribution and not let the telcos have such a monopoly (think deregulation of electricity).

Public Domain Registry

MediaWiki, Creative Commons Canada, and others are working to catalogue ( / host ? ) all Canadian books in the public domain. This is a hard problem since many books do not survive the long life of their copyright. This perhaps should be a federal issue (preserving culture) – but private funding works because the government will not. The “restriction” to Canada does not limit distribution, and so does not limit the uses of the project. It is important to be able to tell what parts of a work are PD (such as poems in a collection) as well as what whole works.

Music Business Models

Fading Ways Music is an indie label whose artists are all CC-BY-NC-SA [somewhat evil, yet so forward thinking]. They primarily use the traditional pay-per-unit business model though.

Jamendo is a site that hosts libre content music and shares ad profits with artists.

Don’t protect the existing models (ie, music tax) – instead come up with / use better models.

The “rights” of the public need to be balanced with the rights of the artist. One model is a take on the “freemium” model where high-quality content requires a fee-based membership (ala 76fanclubs and others). There are benefits, especially to the long tail, of such a model. (OH HAI, BTW, LONG TAIL ALWZ HAPPNS, LIEK ON BLOGZ.) There is a growing desire to remove intermediaries between artists and fans, yet the favourite tools (MySpace / Facebook / really *are* intermediaries (albeit automatic ones), but artists think it’s a pain to update them all and are turning to more layers of indirection again (can haz DiSo?).

Bite the Bullet – CC-BY

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This week I was horrified when @adityavm moved from the most evil of Creative Commons licenses (BY-NC-ND) to All Rights Reserved.  As an advocate of free culture I began to realize just how dangerous it can be to walk that evil line of just-barely-free.  I took a long, hard look at my own licensing practices and decided it was time to open up.  All previous and future entries on my blog (unless otherwise noted) are now licensed CC-BY.  Let freedom reign!