martedì 25 marzo 2008

Copyright and copyleft

"Copyright and copyleft" is a highly ideologized topic...
So a sensible way to talk about copyright is not in general but starting from my own experience. let's give for granted that we can - that is the status of technology now. I think that "I care", in the sense that I'm convinced that I get ore reward spreading out what I produce, because this creates networking and social capital - and this is a real value. This is the way I work in the university, as a trainer, and with my NGO seed. From this perspective, the movement of copyleft and things like creative commons are a great support!

However, this does not work any more when it comes to game design. The design of a board game cannot be protected by law, so I do not publish rules and ideas, or I loose the chance of having the game produced. Apart from that, I share all the rest even about games - but that is why I understand those who apply copyright to their creations. Copyright is also a way to make a living for artists and creative professionals - we have no more mecenates as in the old times!

So, this is my general take on the topic - but as usual, individual applications may vary. For example, I do not share the monopoly of publishers on scientific content. This is usually content that is generated through public funding, and should remain public. It's OK to pay for a book (production and delivery cost!), but not to suffer the severe limitation in reusing the content.
This holds for all products financed by public money for research (also software!), unless this is an enterpreneurship grant.
Also, it is OK to protect music and images, but to not get frenzy about the reuse of any picture you download from the Internet. I know the borderline is blurred here, but some pictures are not creative work, just pictures...

So, there is lot to do. I think the real point is (a) a cultural change in approach: social capital as a benefit and (b) a change in public institution, who should start to consider the open way as an alternative.
However, I cannot imagine a world where everything is open - I still think people should be able to protect what they wish to protect, also for enterprises. And I still think that those who illegally download music and movies are lawbreakers. That is a matter of law, not ethics. Unjust laws might be changed, but until they are valid, we cannot break them.

2 commenti:

Isä ha detto...

“And I still think that those who illegally download music and movies are lawbreakers. “

I agree with you. One should respect other people’s creative work if the creator is not willing to share it for free.

“That is a matter of law, not ethics. Unjust laws might be changed, but until they are valid, we cannot break them.”

With this, I do not agree with you. Sometime one must break unjust laws to so what they are unjust. Montgomery Bus Boycott (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Montgomery_Bus_Boycott) is a good example of this.

Still, downloading major record labels music is not really a “civil right” issue.

However, we need more examples of creators that are able to make living even if their music is online for free. This will change the business. The sooner, the better – for all.

- Teemu

Luca ha detto...

Hi Teemu - I also agree, sometimes it is good to break the rules to change them. But if we do, we are illegal.

So, this does not change the matter of fact: until there is a law, if you break it, you become an outlaw.

Boycott might have been right, but he was a law-breaker - one we esteem, yet illegal... but this is getting philosophy now... :-))