Supporting the Cause

[In the interest of full disclosure, my son works for Creative Commons]

While WikiLeaks and the reaction to it has been getting all the publicity, it is opportune to also remember other groups that make the ‘open internet’ a reality, such as Creative Commons (CC).  While there are many many definitions for the ‘open internet’. To me, it means ”facilitating the sharing of ideas and content while allowing for the protection of the original authors and other contributors”. Creative Commons supplies the tools to make this possible, whether it is allowing anyone anywhere to freely build on and translate MIT course materials, run a course at the Peer 2 Peer University on anything from Web Development 101 to Digital Journalism, or contribute to the incredible sum of knowledge that is Wikipedia. DSC_0649_edited-2

I, like many others, extensively use CC licensed works (including this blog) and the reverse is also true, the accompanying photograph is appearing in an Israeli online text  book written in both Arabic and Hebrew, which I think is kind of cool. This type of sharing is made so much easier through the efforts of Creative Commons.

So the questions I am asking you to consider are: How do openness, creativity, and innovation impact your every day life? How much more interconnected is your world now that music is remixed, videos are shared online, and educational materials can be downloaded before they’re bound in paper?

Creative Commons provides the tools necessary to make sharing, adapting to new paradigms, and the expansion of creativity possible. Help them make the world bigger and better by supporting their 2010  fund drive. [link]

Common Sense and Copyright (300 years and counting)

Last week’s Economist had a leader titled “Copyright and wrong” inspired by the signing of the three hundredth anniversary of the original act.  The leader discussed how the the concept of copyright has changed from its original concept of balancing  “incentive to create” with “society’s free access to knowledge and art”. It did this by protecting books from privacy (14 years plus another 14 years if the author was still alive).no to 95

As the Economist so eloquently states,  with the US now granting copyright holders 95 years of protection and other countries enacting similar legislation, it is time to restore the balance.

When you see a term of 95 years, it is clear that the benefit has very little to do with providing incentive to author’s to create works but much to do with heirs and companies created to monetarily exploit the works under the protection of very long copyright.

Don’t get me wrong, I am all for allowing an author to derive benefit by  controlling their work’s dissemination (and/or derivative works) during their lifetime or for even 5 years beyond.  I just think that allowing that protection to pass to heirs and/or corporations for such an inordinately long time is wrong. Accidents of happenstance that could benefit society and not the lucky few. Culture and knowledge should not be restricted.

The Economist suggests a return to 28 years. They are right on.

DRM – a very busy last few days

Digital Rights Management (DRM) has been very much in the news these past few days – from the Queen’s iPod and whether it violated copyright law, and Apple rolling out their no-DRM variable pricing. I am not sure that no-DRM and variable pricing should be linked together although the record companies would like everyone to readily accept no-DRM from Apple as meaning some songs cost more.

With regards to Apple’s, Amazon’s etc. new pricing, I wonder if it will work.From a consumer’s point of view – the cost of a song is all over the place. Taking Leonard Cohen’s and Lady GaGa’s new CDs as an example. Continue reading