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

RAFFERTY DAMIAN Damian.Rafferty at Culture.gsi.gov.uk
Wed Jun 22 06:09:27 EDT 2005


David - I agree with pretty much all of what you say on a personal level and I am familiar with the arguments. I take it as a given that everyone on this list wants to see more creative activity not less. I would just add that whatever the merits of the current copyright regime, there is no possibility of progress in this area without people understanding their rights and restrictions in relation to the law as it now stands. 
 
It seems inevitable also that more education in this area will come into schools and so the issue is whether this is left to those within the creative industries to lead and in many cases even fund.
 
Therefore, the issue boils down to one of strategy, not intent. Does CC attempt to create a rival educational sphere or seek to embed its messages in a discourse within schools that will inevitably involve big copyright owners?
 
A classic reformist dilemma if there ever was one:)
 
Damian

-----Original Message-----
From: David M. Berry [mailto:d.berry at sussex.ac.uk]
Sent: 21 June 2005 18:08
To: RAFFERTY DAMIAN
Cc: cc-uk at lists.ibiblio.org
Subject: Re: [Cc-uk] RE: Cc-uk Digest, Vol 17, Issue 6



Damian,

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 knowledgeable.



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?

Damian




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