[permaculture] Re: Holmgren Collected Writings (Thilo Pfennig)

Thilo Pfennig tp at alternativ.net
Tue Mar 26 19:51:56 EST 2002

On Tue, 2002-03-26 at 22:01, Toby Hemenway wrote:
> Not true. I'm not a lawyer, but I've unhappily had to learn a lot about
> copyright law. "Changing" the work is itself almost certainly a violation of
> copyright. The law says the original author (Steve) is the only person who
> has the right to copy the work or to make "derivative" works based on it,
> which Thilo seems to have done. You can't use Steve's words (beyond short

Wait a moment: I had the permission of Steve to make a derivative work -
a SGML file. So it is not the case, that I just surfed his site, copied
it and then put my signature on it. He surely never gabe permission for
relicensing, which I requested from him, but did not get an answer. 

> There is a gray area called "fair use" where it's okay to copy certain
> things without permission for educational purposes as long as it doesn't
> harm the author, if society will benefit. But you can't put your name on it.

I also could not put his name under it, because the versions are already
too different. I had the intention to make a different version based on
his works. What I should have done, would be waiting on an answer and if
I get no answer, just not doing it. I still think it was a good idea,
allthough I find it a bit annoying to get a feedback via this
mailinglist months after my request in this kind of form. I admit, I
know there is never a guarantee for a mail to reach it's recipient...
:-( - I hope not just forgot my question or found it unimportant moths

> have to pay when information seems so easy to reproduce. But why would an
> author bother to write down ideas if he could not benefit from it? Sheer joy

This is a complicated question. People had ideas before books. People
for centuries wrote books not for there personal benefit but because
something needed to be written down. Because they felt the need of it.

> of sharing only goes so far; then there's rent to pay. Paying insures that
> people will continue to create; it returns energy to those who put it out.

I am not opposed to that. But I do have a problem with property/copy-
rights. In the Open Source movement many people earn there money - but
that does not mean they claim ownership of words,technics,...

For me permaculture and copyleft are ONE thing. There will be no
permanent culture without a free flow of information. Think about a
plant which claims it's water to be it's own. Giving and Taking is
natural, property is not.

> words and art--are used. The law says no one can own an idea. 

This is, sadly, wrong. I recall the "One-Click-Buy" idea that Amazon

> Doesn't practicing the Pc idea of "care for people" extend to authors?  And
> deciding that a person shouldn't get compensation for her work is also known
> as theft. Be aware that pirating actually does harm to the author. Is that

I don't want to ignore the will of any author. This has nothing to do
with pirating. It is a question of licensing and agreement.

> okay? Or are the benefits of spreading these "ideas"--which are really the
> work of others--worth cheating authors out of an income and credit?

if EVERYBODY since Adma & Eva had claimed copyright whe would have no
progress. Every letter would have a copyright owner - every technical
invention (the wheel!) would have a copyright owner etc. If you are
right and copyright is a way of earning money, everybody should have
copyright and nothing should be without it, because only things with
copyrights are of worth? Ok, I overstate...

> Most authors--myself included--are happy to let people distribute parts of
> their work for free, but we do make our livings by laboriously turning

Be honest. How much of that, what you know is based on knowledge you
developed yourself? Maybe there is knowledge of other people and nature
who never asked any money from you?

> For those interested, there's good material on copyright law at
> http://www.loc.gov/copyright (official US and international stuff), at Nolo
> Press http://www.nolopress.com (click on trademark and copyright at left)
> and at http://www.hitme.net/useful/c.html (some on how it applies to the
> web)

A nice article about licensing:

Thilo Pfennig

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