Mollison copyright statement

Toby Hemenway hemenway at jeffnet.org
Mon May 31 10:37:56 EDT 1999


Like a few other people, I was at first taken aback at Bill Mollison's
reassertion of copyright statement, but if you wade through the ugly but
necessary legalese, it's pretty reasonable. Here are the key passages:

>We have always specifically guarded ownership of the
>PC curriculum so that all students have much the same experience in common

 > Students publishing curriculum which often contain word for
>word copies of copyrighted material from the manual and course handbook
>cannot sell that curriculum nor can institutions purchase said curriculum or
>teach it,

>any use of said curriculum must be by application to the author

So all he's saying is, he devised the curriculum so students would have a
similar body of knowledge as a base; others shouldn't claim the curriculum
as their own since it's not theirs; if you steal it you can't resell it;
and if you want to use portions of it commercially, ask him first.

 I know that Bill doesn't claim to have invented the ideas presented in the
PDC or design manual. I think he just doesn't like being plagiarised-a word
with a very specific meaning: wholesale lifting of text without credit. I
can't blame him. It happens to him quite a bit, so he's not just being
paranoid.

I think there's tons of room in the curriculum for growth; it's very broad.
And nothing in his statement makes me believe he's laying claim to "ideas"
like herb spirals, swales, etc. He's just saying if you use the PDC
curriculum, you have to call it permaculture; and if you drastically change
it, you can't use the word. It's as if I tried to sell a home-made beverage
as Coca Cola, or if I relabeled Coke as Toby-cola and sold it. Since the
Coke folks created that particular mix of easily available elements, they'd
have a right to stop me from piggy-backing on their reputation and hard
work.

The idea of intellectual property has kept lawyers and philosophers busy
for a long time. I'm not surprised a group as diverse as we don't agree
about it either.

Toby







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