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Author Topic: Growing the Copyfree Movement  (Read 6645 times)
kiba
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November 27, 2010, 05:27:37 AM
 #1

I am trying to make a new economic movement called the "Copyfree Movement". What is it about?

Copyfree is the act of declaring all your art or creations into "public domain". It is more about letting your artwork being subjected to the normal rules of property law, rather than bullshit of intellectual property.

So, I been declaring all my artwork "copyfree" by now, but there is nothing much happening. I am only one artist, and I am not a particularly good one yet. I am getting microbitcoin patronage and profiting from it, but they don't add to even 1 BTC.

So what to do now?

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em3rgentOrdr
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November 27, 2010, 06:52:23 AM
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Hey Kiba,

Creative Commons already has what it attempts at a Public Domain License, but unfortunately copyright laws are sooo messed up and different from country to country that licensing for public isn't practical, as Stephan Kinsella explains.  He argues that the Creative Commons Attribution License is sort of the best and simplest tool we got.

Have you taken a look at http://copyfree.org already?:

Quote
What is Copyfree?

Copyfree is a term used to identify the freedom to copy, use, modify, and distribute what you possess. It is a philosophy that stands in contrast to both copyright and copyleft, in that it does not seek to limit or restrict your rights regarding your possessions at all. Copyfree is not about limited monopoly on the product of the intellect like copyright, nor is it about dictating terms of redistribution like copyleft. It is about control over what you possess and allowing others to control what they possess.

Copyfree is a policy.

Copyfree refers to a policy of freeing the product of the intellect through licensing. This means that it is open source and free software, but it is also much more than software. Any work subject to copyright licensing at all potentially falls within the purview of a copyfree policy.

Copyfree is a standard.

The Copyfree Standard Definition defines the characteristics of a copyfree work. This standard is used to determine compliance of licenses with copyfree policy. Just as the Open Source Initiative certifies licenses as compliant with the Open Source Definition, and the Free Software Foundation defines licenses as Free or Non-Free Software licenses and as Copyleft or non-Copyleft licenses, so too do we identify licenses as Copyfree Standard Definition compliant or noncompliant. See Copyfree Licenses for a list of licenses certified as conforming to the Copyfree Standard Definition.

Copyfree is an idea whose time has come.

"We will not find a solution to political problems in cryptography, but we can win a major battle in the arms race and gain a new territory of freedom for several years.

Governments are good at cutting off the heads of a centrally controlled networks, but pure P2P networks are holding their own."
kiba
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November 27, 2010, 06:54:24 AM
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Have you taken a look at http://copyfree.org already?


Thanks. I didn't know such a site exists for copyfree.

ribuck
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November 27, 2010, 01:56:43 PM
 #4

Creative Commons already has what it attempts at a Public Domain License, but unfortunately copyright laws are sooo messed up and different from country to country that licensing for public isn't practical

Creative Commons replaced their first attempt at PD with their "CC-ZERO" license, which works like public domain but is free of the legal hiccups that PD causes in some countries.

But anyway, the legal "problems" around public domain are not problems for the content creator. Just put your work on the internet and mark it "public domain", and don't sue anyone. Then everyone gets all the benefits of public domain, without needing to invoke lawyers.
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November 27, 2010, 03:07:08 PM
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Creative Commons already has what it attempts at a Public Domain License, but unfortunately copyright laws are sooo messed up and different from country to country that licensing for public isn't practical

Creative Commons replaced their first attempt at PD with their "CC-ZERO" license, which works like public domain but is free of the legal hiccups that PD causes in some countries.

Opps, yeah, that is what I meant to link to, the CC0 license.

But anyway, the legal "problems" around public domain are not problems for the content creator. Just put your work on the internet and mark it "public domain", and don't sue anyone. Then everyone gets all the benefits of public domain, without needing to invoke lawyers.

Well I guess the problem is I want people to attribute copies or derivatives to me...it is just that I would never sue anyone...I don't know what this would technically be called.  As Stephan argues, it should already be good professional and internet ettiquite to attribute works, so the CC Attribution License isn't really imposing any significant demands on users, especially if you indicate you will not sue.

"We will not find a solution to political problems in cryptography, but we can win a major battle in the arms race and gain a new territory of freedom for several years.

Governments are good at cutting off the heads of a centrally controlled networks, but pure P2P networks are holding their own."
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November 27, 2010, 04:11:31 PM
 #6

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IeTybKL1pM4
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November 27, 2010, 04:14:03 PM
 #7

I've been putting out software under the Unlicense (http://unlicense.org/), published last year.

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RHorning
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November 27, 2010, 05:02:34 PM
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I have seen so many content licensing methods over the years that this does seem like something near and dear to my heart.

I got started in programming computers early enough that I remember the "gifting culture" that existed when people were more than willing to share software and content with each other freely, where the problem really was more of how to get the content distributed rather than worrying about the price of the content.  Much of modern computing simply wouldn't exist except for people freely sharing knowledge about how things worked, including some rather large corporations willing to share their knowledge of what it is that they were doing.

The largest problem I have with public domain works is that it is more like leaving your car parked in the front drive with the keys in the ignition 24/7/365.  Perhaps you don't even mind if a neighbor takes off with the car for an errand and usually tops off the gas tank when they are done driving and brings it back to the same spot, but eventually you get some scumbag that comes along and totals the car without remorse or simply leaves with the car and never comes back.  Perhaps worse yet, they file a lawsuit against you because a spring in the driver's seat puncture their thigh and caused some medical bills that ended up costing more than the value of the car itself.

Public domain licensing is very much like this on a number of levels, and I've seen people get hurt in a number of ways from it, often when they are trying very hard to be altruistic and generous.  You can throw on legal terms and conditions (aka "use this software at your own risk" and other legal disclaimers) in an attempt to protect yourself, but liability can be a huge issue by itself even if you give something away, and a simple disclaimer often isn't sufficient.

Also, using the stolen car example, I've seen far too often where something put into the public domain was simply "appropriated" and then a copyright assertion was claimed on that public domain content where the original author or developer had to go to court simply to use stuff that they wrote themselves.

There is also what I see as a sort of intellectual dishonesty when somebody gathers several public domain sources of information and content of various kinds and asserts 100% proprietary ownership over that collection (aka "all rights reserved").  One of the worst offenders of this was none other than Bill Gates, who received so much from others giving him stuff to help him get Microsoft going, but gave so little back.  Microsoft as a company is particularly known for incorporating public domain software into their products without even so much as an acknowledgement that anybody but a Microsoft employee wrote the code.

For all this and many other reasons, I'm much more strongly inclined towards licenses like the GPL which give people the freedom to reuse the content and to make changes, but keep the content from getting taken and used in ways that keeps the original authors out of the loop entirely.  I do lean more towards the LGPL more as I think the purists who insist that the viral nature of the GPL must be preserved is also sort of wrong as well and not everybody is in a position to release everything as a GPL'd software or book.  I do understand some of the push-back against the GPL as well.

I'm sort of curious about why this "Copyfree Movement" is different from the "Free Software Movement" and other related content philosophies, and what advantages that it has?  More specifically, since the overall aims are pretty much the same, what complaints there are against the "Free Software" philosophies of Richard Stallman that make this so different?  Some really deep thinking and discussion on this issue has happened before, including the merits or lack thereof over the public domain.

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kiba
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November 27, 2010, 05:10:18 PM
 #9

I'm sort of curious about why this "Copyfree Movement" is different from the "Free Software Movement" and other related content philosophies, and what advantages that it has?  More specifically, since the overall aims are pretty much the same, what complaints there are against the "Free Software" philosophies of Richard Stallman that make this so different?  Some really deep thinking and discussion on this issue has happened before, including the merits or lack thereof over the public domain.

Freedom.

Freedom to sell, freedom to modify, freedom to buy, and even freedom to do no attribution.

We are revolting against the institution of copyright itself and to instill a more voluntary society.

Copyleft is a coercive license. It is using an unethical means to achieve a good end.

I believed we should be right in our actions as well in our end.

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November 27, 2010, 05:13:14 PM
 #10

They can shoot me in the head before I'm going to go begging to use something I made.

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November 27, 2010, 06:38:25 PM
 #11

... liability can be a huge issue by itself even if you give something away ...

I think you're unintentionally spreading FUD here. If you give something away into the public domain (in jurisdictions where that can be done) you can't be sued for it. If you think that's not the case, show me a link to a counterexample.

Disclaimers, yes, you need them when you license something to someone. But releasing into the public domain is not licensing.

I've seen far too often where something put into the public domain was simply "appropriated" and then a copyright assertion was claimed on that public domain content where the original author or developer had to go to court simply to use stuff that they wrote themselves.

This can and does happen, but it's not because it's public domain. Exactly the same thing can and does happen where the original author or developer licenses a work under the GPL, a CC license, or a proprietary license.
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November 27, 2010, 06:43:56 PM
 #12

Agree with kiba, and totally reject RHorning's car analogy. The car is property. If someone takes it and totals it, you're deprived of the use of it. Not so with intellectual "property".

(My main thoughts on the topic: http://www.nostate.com/2323/intellectual-property-does-not-exist/)

What it boils down to in my mind is that in the case of software licenses like the GPL or even something very loose like CC-BY, when you publish you're reserving the "right" to go and shoot somebody who violates the license. Or have the government go shoot them for you.

If I catch you stealing my car, it might be okay to shoot you. If I find you republishing my work against my wishes, it's never okay to shoot you.

This doesn't mean, however, that shooting people (i.e. using state legal means in any fashion) is the only way to sanction infringement. The person who goes and puts his own name on someone else's creation isn't a "criminal" in the judge/jail/police/fines/execution sense, but he sure is a dickhead. And there are all sorts of human ways to deal with dickheads: ostracism, gossip, blacklist, and so on.

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November 27, 2010, 06:54:54 PM
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I'm sort of curious about why this "Copyfree Movement" is different from the "Free Software Movement" and other related content philosophies, and what advantages that it has?  More specifically, since the overall aims are pretty much the same, what complaints there are against the "Free Software" philosophies of Richard Stallman that make this so different?  Some really deep thinking and discussion on this issue has happened before, including the merits or lack thereof over the public domain.

Freedom.

Freedom to sell, freedom to modify, freedom to buy, and even freedom to do no attribution.

We are revolting against the institution of copyright itself and to instill a more voluntary society.

Copyleft is a coercive license. It is using an unethical means to achieve a good end.

I believed we should be right in our actions as well in our end.

Copyleft is also about freedom, although I will admit that it is using the existing copyright legislation against itself.... which BTW is one of the things that I find so powerful about copyleft is that it uses the legal tools of those who have corrupted the copyright system for their own ends in such a way that it doesn't work.  If Microsoft (as it has) puts a GPL'd or even LGPL'd software into its operating system, the original authors can point out such use is contrary to the license and therefore it must be removed.  Microsoft can get belligerent about the issue, but they can't "take over" the software without shooting themselves in the foot by essentially opening up their own software.  It is also why Microsoft also looked at Linux as its largest competitor, yet as a company they couldn't engage in the same tactics that they used against other software developers as both the motives and tools to fight "open source" or copylefted software simply wouldn't work.  Taking on a copyleft project became a game of whack-a-mole where you couldn't stop the software from getting distributed.

Perhaps the most telling is the spread of Gnutella, where contractually AOL simply had to acknowledge that the software was GPLd so therefore they couldn't get a court injunction against its distribution.  Try as they might, and AOL did have a huge legal team trying to stop it, Gnutella kept spreading and growing on every attempt to stop it.

I was also somewhat involved tangentially with the DeCSS software that went around the world for awhile.  That it was released under terms of the GPL gave it tremendous power so far as the tools to squash it as a piece of software simply couldn't revolve around copyright legislation at all.  The authorship of the software itself was never in doubt nor the ability to copy it freely.  The complaint was more of a contract dispute and "stealing trade secrets".

The point of copyleft is to maintain that freedom, and to ensure that others will also continue to have that freedom in the future.  If you try to ignore copyright legislation as though it doesn't exist, hard cruel reality sets in where essentially you will be pushed to the side and ignored or as I've said you will even be prohibited from using what you made and credit for your work stripped from you.  Most "public domain" licenses seem like naivety on the part of those who put them together.

More importantly, a copyleft environment is a means to the end of bringing down copyright by making it absurd in its application.  I see public domain advocates as simply burying their heads in the sand pretending that copyright doesn't exist at all.

To use another analogy, it is like heading off to a battle field unarmed on the hopes that everybody is going to be nice to you because you aren't shooting at them.  Wonderful in theory but in practice it tends to get you killed.

Public domain content is not a new idea and what I'm trying to say is that I've seen many people get burned from it.  With copyleft content, it hasn't been nearly so bad and as a practical matter the copyleft content tends to survive much longer and gets a foothold in society where public domain content usually doesn't.

Yes, I do understand why some are arguing against copyleft licenses, but you should also understand why such licenses are put together first before you start attacking them too.

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November 27, 2010, 07:05:45 PM
 #14


The point of copyleft is to maintain that freedom, and to ensure that others will also continue to have that freedom in the future.  If you try to ignore copyright legislation as though it doesn't exist, hard cruel reality sets in where essentially you will be pushed to the side and ignored or as I've said you will even be prohibited from using what you made and credit for your work stripped from you.  Most "public domain" licenses seem like naivety on the part of those who put them together.

More importantly, a copyleft environment is a means to the end of bringing down copyright by making it absurd in its application.  I see public domain advocates as simply burying their heads in the sand pretending that copyright doesn't exist at all.

To use another analogy, it is like heading off to a battle field unarmed on the hopes that everybody is going to be nice to you because you aren't shooting at them.  Wonderful in theory but in practice it tends to get you killed.

Public domain content is not a new idea and what I'm trying to say is that I've seen many people get burned from it.  With copyleft content, it hasn't been nearly so bad and as a practical matter the copyleft content tends to survive much longer and gets a foothold in society where public domain content usually doesn't.

The point is not about ignoring copyright and burying our heads into the sands. It is cruel to see people copyrighting your own work. It is cruel that people mis-attributed your work as someone else. It really does sucks.

However, part of the philosophy of copyfree is whether or not you choose to share. We do not force you to share the source code, to guarantee that someone can always modify. We promised not to use violence on individuals that don't share or don't cooperate. Above all, we respect your property right.

The GPL does not respect your property right. It forces you to share the source when you distribute. It is very different from the philosophy of copyfree.

I am not an idiot naive person who expect people to be nice.  I am a capitalistic and entrepreneurial person who will put up a fight. I will do it the right, proper way, not with copyright lawyers with blazing guns.

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November 27, 2010, 08:04:49 PM
 #15

Copyleft (e.g. the GPL, or CC-SA) maximizes the freedom of the creative work itself.

Public domain, or weak copyright (e.g. BSD, MIT, CC Attribution) maximizes the freedom of the users of the creative work.
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November 27, 2010, 08:48:42 PM
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Copyleft (e.g. the GPL, or CC-SA) maximizes the freedom of the creative work itself.

Public domain, or weak copyright (e.g. BSD, MIT, CC Attribution) maximizes the freedom of the users of the creative work.

Neither approach is really all that friendly toward copyright law in the first place, it is mainly a matter of perspective on how that should be dealt with.

Public domain content has been around for years, including public domain software.  This isn't really all that new of a concept.  Copyleft is somewhat new which is why it has been sort of controversial and has been disruptive, because people have been forced into adapting to the environment created with copyleft content.  It has also "put legs" on content created with copyleft systems.

In terms of me creating something and then slapping on a content license, which would you prefer?  Something like the GPL or a proprietary "all rights reserved" license?  I guess that is part of the issue here too.

With public domain content, I can certainly use the freedom enjoyed by those who have put it there, but at the same time I can create a derivative work where I claim copyright "all rights reserved".  I can't do that with GPL'd content or similar licenses.

To throw some further thought on this, there are also those who insist upon "non-commercial use only" licenses such as the CC-SA-NC license and some others that are there for sharing content, but have even stronger restrictions.  I like the fact that the GPL does allow me to make a profit and engage in commercial activity with software under that license and a "non-commercial" license doesn't do that either.

Copyright laws exist, and you can't get away from it.  In fact, unlike in the past you don't even have an option any more to avoid copyright unless you explicitly demand that the content must be in the public domain, such as what is being done here with this "Copyfree Movement".  That wasn't always the case.  From a political and philosophical basis, I think the original sense of the U.S. Constitution is really a better way to deal with the issue so far as "granting for a limited time" protection to authors who "promote the useful arts and sciences".  Life + 70 is not the limited time the framers of the U.S. Constitution envisioned, and protecting a gene sequence isn't "promoting the useful arts and sciences".

I really think the concept that a copyright has no force until it is formally registered is a good idea too, but that is irrelevant for this conversation.

Certainly there is no reason to bash copyleft explicitly other than to suggest that there is a philosophically different approach going on here.  Both copyleft and those putting a weak copyright license on stuff are trying to share content, the difference is how.  When I copyleft my content, I am expecting that the content will remain free, which is my motive for doing so.  If you don't care that it remains free, it is your privilege to open up your own content in that manner.  You are also free to ignore what I make as well.

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November 27, 2010, 09:06:44 PM
 #17


Copyright laws exist, and you can't get away from it.  In fact, unlike in the past you don't even have an option any more to avoid copyright unless you explicitly demand that the content must be in the public domain, such as what is being done here with this "Copyfree Movement".  That wasn't always the case.  From a political and philosophical basis, I think the original sense of the U.S. Constitution is really a better way to deal with the issue so far as "granting for a limited time" protection to authors who "promote the useful arts and sciences".  Life + 70 is not the limited time the framers of the U.S. Constitution envisioned, and protecting a gene sequence isn't "promoting the useful arts and sciences".

There is no evidence to suggest that copyright laws were ever beneficial, economically.

Quote
I really think the concept that a copyright has no force until it is formally registered is a good idea too, but that is irrelevant for this conversation.

Certainly there is no reason to bash copyleft explicitly other than to suggest that there is a philosophically different approach going on here.  Both copyleft and those putting a weak copyright license on stuff are trying to share content, the difference is how.  When I copyleft my content, I am expecting that the content will remain free, which is my motive for doing so.  If you don't care that it remains free, it is your privilege to open up your own content in that manner.  You are also free to ignore what I make as well.

Copyleft is quite unnecessary for no other reason that non-sharing and the lawsuits of pirates imparts inferior economic benefit than the freedom of distribution and modification. In the 19th century, there were massive piracy of British literature but also patronage by players in the American literacy market. American writers were especially angry about this situation.They petitioned the government to grant British writers the same right, supposedly for the idea of an author's natural right.

Eric's Cathedral and the Bazaar illustrate the economic superiority of open source production system over closed source. The speedier evolutionary rate of open source software will eventually win over the close source. GPL is only useful if you lived in a world where the productivity difference between close source and open source are vanishingly small.

However, my position is ultimately a libertarian one. We reject copyright and patents on the ground that is unethical to coerce individuals from doing their own things with the property that they possess.

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November 28, 2010, 12:20:06 AM
 #18

From http://unlicense.org:

Quote
How many precious hours of your life have you spent deliberating how to license your software or worrying about licensing compatibility with other software? You will never get those hours back, but here's your chance to start cutting your losses. Life's too short, let's get back to coding.

LOL!  Yeah, tell me about it.  I've probably wasted hundreds of hours on my life thinking about differences in software licenses and compatibility issues!  And I'm not getting those hours back!   Undecided

"We will not find a solution to political problems in cryptography, but we can win a major battle in the arms race and gain a new territory of freedom for several years.

Governments are good at cutting off the heads of a centrally controlled networks, but pure P2P networks are holding their own."
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November 28, 2010, 06:07:23 AM
 #19

I think you're unintentionally spreading FUD here. If you give something away into the public domain (in jurisdictions where that can be done) you can't be sued for it. If you think that's not the case, show me a link to a counterexample.
i will do just that, then, my friend Smiley
apparently you have not heard of the rather famous JMRI court case.
Here are some links you may find enlightening:

http://itmanagement.earthweb.com/osrc/article.php/3775446/Bruce+Perens:+A+Big+Change+for+Open+Source.htm
http://itmanagement.earthweb.com/features/article.php/3866316/Bruce-Perens-Inside-Open-Sources-Historic-Victory
http://perens.com/works/testimony/PerensJMRI.pdf

in brief: 'good guy' writes foss software. licensis it under the weak "artistic license". 'bad guy' goes and makes a closed-source offshoot of it, even files some patents, and then sues the original author for infringing his patent/copyright.

if you read bruce perens' analysis, the case was made much harder since the weak 'artistic license' was used.

after you're done with that, might want to see bruce's analysis of foss licenses: http://itmanagement.earthweb.com/osrc/article.php/3803101/Bruce-Perens-How-Many-Open-Source-Licenses-Do-You-Need.htm

In summary... I'm firmly in the camp of using copyleft-style licenses. If i make something and give it out for free, I want the takers to return the favor.

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November 28, 2010, 06:21:03 AM
 #20

Evildoers' deeds could be used as political ammunition.

Mostly to damage the credibility of copyright and patent institution in question.

I won't say it is not without risk, to be copyfree.

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