Permaculture copyright

Graham Burnett gburnett at
Tue Jun 6 16:52:22 EDT 2000

> no monopoly on swales so he has no right to "monopolize" permaculture, or:
> Bill has a lot of great ideas but some of them are "outdated", or: Bill says
> it's OK because once you get your design certificate, Permaculture is
> whatever you think it is.  Sorry, but it ain't.

Or what the British Government think it is....

Copyrighting an idea goes against my grain, however there are advantages to Bill Mollison having
copyright over the word 'Permaculture' as evidenced in 1996 when the UK Secretary Of State for the
Environment at that time, John Gummer, attempted via the High Courts to define the word
'Permaculture' as 'subsistence living' in a protracted legal battle with 'Tinkers Bubble', a low
impact community living off the land who fell foul of UK planning laws...

In this case Mollison was able to write to the British Government and make clear that Permaculture
is in fact a 'design science', practiced by 'over 20,000 graduates of design course' with 'no
relationship to subsistence living', and that no court in the land (world) could change this
definition. So if Mollison HADN'T asserted his 'intelectual property rights' over the term, the UK
Tory (at that time) government would have actually been able to create their own definition of the
word to suit their own ends, and made it something that had very little to do with what I suspect
99% of us believe in or are practicing who describe ourselves as permaculturists....

The issue is covered in more depth, including a copy of Mollison's letter to Gummer, in
PERMACULTURE MAGAZINE (UK), issue 12- go to  for more info...

Cheers 4 now,

Graham Burnett
35 Rayleigh Avenue
Westcliff On Sea
Essex, UK

South East Essex LETS

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