[Cc-uk] RE: Cc-uk Digest, Vol 17, Issue 6

David Hirst dhirst at pavilion.co.uk
Tue Jun 21 17:38:54 EDT 2005


Thanks for your comments, which I wholly support. To add a bit more.


There are many who are disturbed by overuse of the word create and it
derivatives. Stallman (RWS) suggests avoiding the use of creator: "The term
"creator" as applied to authors implicitly compares them to a deity ("the
creator"). The term is used by publishers to elevate the authors' moral
stature above that of ordinary people, to justify increased copyright power
that publishers can exercise in the name of the authors." And many think of
creation as having happened only once ever. Imagining then quite what the
"creative industries" might be up to creates some frightful confusions. 


So let us stick to authors, songwriters, singers, "imageers", actors or
whatever. For each of these the rules are different, (and somewhat arbitrary
and mixed up) and the monopolies associated with each need to be examined


One of the extraordinary things about "consuming" digital culture is that it
is absolutely not consuming. The material cost of listening, or watching or
copying is precisely nothing. Nothing is consumed, so it is not consumption.
So how can it be "property"? To call it that is propaganda, to teach it to
our kids is enslavement. It leads us down the path where even humming a tune
to yourself is "piracy", and this just cannot be ethical.


David Hirst



From: cc-uk-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org
[mailto:cc-uk-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org] On Behalf Of David M. Berry
Sent: 21 June 2005 18:08
Cc: cc-uk at lists.ibiblio.org
Subject: Re: [Cc-uk] RE: Cc-uk Digest, Vol 17, Issue 6





I am rather concerned that more careful and nuanced understanding is being
lost in comments like this. I am sure that the 'creative industries', as
they call themselves, would like us to understand that the things they sell
are a form of property, but in actual fact what they have is in reality a
limited term monopoly granted by Parliament which is part of a public
bargain. This means that it *does not* equate with physical property, and I
think that teaching this in schools is exactly the kind of backwards step
away from creativity that we should be against. 


Creativity requires that we can reuse culture, and in the production of new
cultural works it is generally understood that a limited monopoly right may
be in the best interests of the creator to allow them to have an income (but
see theorists such as Terry Fisher for alternatives). But this is a balance
between a public good and a private interest that has to be carefully
managed and that we need to always keep alert to. This monopoly right is
extremely tempting (as are all monopolies) as it can bring in untold riches
by the simple extension of ownership of a copyright or patent. Put
multinational corporations into the equation and it begins to make a great
deal of sense for them to attempt to extend copyright indefinitely in order
to make the monopoly last as long as possible and the profit to roll in. 


I fear that rather than making people more knowledgeable, the current
creative industry support for this pseudo-education in schools is to confuse
the issue enough so that the difference between physical and intellectual
property becomes lost. They are distinct types of legal right and they
should remain distinct. We should be educating children into understanding
why this legal and ethical distinction is important and why it is crucial
for our democratic culture that a vibrant cultural commons is needed so that
people can use, reuse, transform and remake culture with every new
generation. Rather than, as Lessig has said, allowing the past (or
multinationals) to control the future. 


Lastly I would like to add that you are correct in your diagnosis linking
the 'consumption' of intellectual property with the copyright regime. This
is because owners seeks to restrict and emasculate the consumer so that it
would be a crime for them to make new meanings or cultural works with
copyrighted material. Creative commons and other similar movements like
open-source and libre culture seek to make the consumer active and creative
through giving them the ability to use the works in new ways. This is a
productive relationship that is extremely important in creativity and the
creative act. 


- David



On 21 Jun 2005, at 17:41, RAFFERTY DAMIAN wrote:

I hope you can share the 'copyright for kids' learning as this is a very
interesting area. The creative industries are very keen that children
understand that the things they make and consume are a form of property and
those more inclined to CC probably agree that we should all be more



In general, the most important thing is safety. Making sure the children can
not be traced back to where they live, or go to school, if their pictures
are used for instance is critical.


I suspect also that children cannot assign conditions to their copyright
meaningfully without adult or most probably parental advice. Interestingly,
if the content that the children remixed was already on a share-alike
agreement, then this would stand. Perhaps the answer is to educate the
children and parents into why you are doing this and explain that you will
be using a share-alike agreement?







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