[cc-community] Intellectual Highway Department

Greg London teloscorbin at gmail.com
Tue May 30 14:03:19 EDT 2006


> > So, some people think that charging tolls is fundamentally
> > evil. That anyone who does the work to create a new piece
> > of highway should allow anyone to travel on that road freely.
> > Some of these folks claim that gift economy approaches can
> > build any road, that all you got to do is get everyone to
> > adopt copyleft and highways will spool out beneath your
> > feet.
>
> The GPL (and BY-SA) allow you to charge. And people pay.
> There is no split between copyleft and payment.
> There is a split between maximising profit and
> copyleft, but there is no moral right to maximum profit.

The problem was paying for the time and energy it costs
to create a new work. You can use All Rights Reserved
and set your price, or you can use Street Performer Protocol
and get money that way. both work.

If you want to change the problem to ARR getting too much
money, then SPP doesn't solve it. ARR currently has the
flaw of having terms be too long, anti circumvention
clauses being to restrictive, and DRM killing Fair Use.
You want to fix the problem of overpayment, fix the cause,
don't change the game.

"All Rights Reserved" isn't evil.
"Too Many Rights" is evil.

But the idea of of an individual using all rights reserved,
getting an exclusive term for something like 42 years,
and using that to pay for their time and energy is as
valid as using Street Performer Protocol.

If you're trying to pay for the time and energy it takes
to create a work, ARR and SPP can both be fair,
assuming ARR gets some adjustments.

> > So, there is a meme that is pretty common in the gift
> > economies that to charge tolls is wrong.
>
> NC denies people the ability to charge tolls,
> even if they have combined their
> labor with the commons. This is surely wrong.

So, Frank is a Fan of Author Alice.
Alice licenses her book CC-NC.
Frank writes some fan fiction and
distributes it noncommercially.
Frank would like to charge money for
his fanfiction, remembers the CC-NC license,
and howls that an injustice has been done?

How can it be wrong if he knows about it
in advance? And if he knows about it in
advance, and he writes fiction anyway,
shouldn't he take responsibility for that
decision?

CC-NC is a market economy license.
It allows the author to give up some rights
in exchange for possibly getting more
sales, which is for their personal benefit,
not the community's. Anyone who
creates a derivative of a CC-NC work
needs to know what they're dealing with,
an author-centric license.

An author uses CC-NC to give up something
to the community in exchange for possibly
getting somethign for themselves. That isn't
wrong or immoral. It's just not a gift economy.
It isn't the author giving up the rights and not
expecting someting in return.

> > And someone who builds a road and licenses
> > it CC-NC allowing people to travel it freely
> > but charging tolls for vehicles with commercial
> > plates is NOT fragmenting anything.
>
> If the toll is too high it will fragment communications
> as vehicles simply avoid  the road.

To fragment means to split apart something that was whole.
A CC-NC road is something NEW. it isn't part of any
existing network of roads. It isn't part of anyone's commons.
It didn't exist anywhere before. And it's creation doesn't
fragment anything. All the roads that existed before are still
there, are still connected as they always were.

> NC is too high a toll (I agree to give up *all* my profit to pay for
> using anything from the NC commons).

CC-NC is a market economy license.
You shouldn't think of it as a commons.
You should not write CC-NC fan fiction and
expect to sell it.


> This is because "Freedom" here is creative or ethical freedom,
> not economic or business model freedom. Economic freedom
> does impact creative freedom majorly,

Well, I'm talking about paying for the time and energy it takes
to create a new work, and how to make it work. Ethical and
creative concerns are a different problem. How do you build
a road where none exists? And how do you pay for it?
There are a number of solutions from proprietary to street
performer to asking for donations. The idea of one being
"better" than the other doesn't enter. They all solve the problem
of needing to pay for the tiem and energy. Copyright currently
overpays, but the *idea* is a sound one, and it could be made
as fair as a street performer protocol if terms and rights were
properly adjusted.

> but it's hard to make money if most of your money goes
> on paying creative rent, or if you can only create what
> you are allowed to by landlords.

This property metaphor fails.
YOu are, at any time, completely free to create a new work.
You are not required to pay rent to landlords.

One of the reasons I don't like the Intellectual Highway Department
is that its a physical metaphor. And it's easy for people to complain
that someone has an unfair advantage becase they have a bunch of
roads. In the IHD metaphor roads can cut off specific routes, but they
can never completely encircle any destination. "Harry Potter" is a
road that can't be traveled without paying a toll. but anyone can build
a road to the destination that is Fantasy/Magic fiction.

Now, if we were talking about patents, you could argue that a patent
can cut off all access to a destination, but copyright does not do that.
It only cuts off access to the specific road or specific expression
(expressway?). Copyright doesn't rope off an idea or a functionality,
so you can get to the same destination by a different route.

In this case, I'd switch to the Bounty Hunter metaphor because writing
really is a service, not a manufacturing industry. And just because
someone caught a bunch of bad guys and is collecting bounties on them,
you can just as easily catch a new bad guy as anyone else if you're
willing to do the work. The bounty hunter metaphor is more natural at
showing that previous copyrights do not control access to new and
original works.



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