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« Creative Communism | Main | Why I Believe in God -- and Why You Might, Too! »

April 09, 2009


Dale Innis

If I can attempt a rational reconstruction of Prokofy's worry, maybe what he is worried about is that if people (CC and/or others) make it too easy and/or common to grant the world at large the right to use one's work in various ways without paying for it, then people will start to expect this, and people who don't grant that right for their works will be looked down upon, called names, have trouble getting dates, and so on.

And (the going gets slightly rougher here) he thinks that there is a group of people (the bad guys) who are intentionally moving the world in that direction, so that (to avoid being called names and so on) lots of people will grant a general right to use their works for free, and then they (the bad guys) can make use of these free works in their own products, thus lowering their costs and essentially getting access to a pool of free labor.

That worry, at least, doesn't involve any obvious factual errors about the nature of CC and so on. I don't find it very plausible myself; it would require, for instance, that even the granting of rights for commercial use become expected, and that seems to me quite unlikely to happen (everyone understands wanting to share in profits made with one's work).

And of course I may have completely misread Prokofy's concern, in which case I'm sure he will correct me. :)

Micha Sass

I am still not convinced that Creative Commons is communism in the totalitarian sense. I don't believe CC is some sort of evil entity which is attempting to be the single way people will handle all IP. Maybe CC is an example of communist methodology, but I don't see the power to change the will of individuals. I agree, creators need to think long and hard before casting their work into the public domain. I see your energy here though, and do think it is good that CC is getting many critics. But I think the efforts of the sharing community has generally been brow-beaten by many forces, and are really no threat. The worry though for me is, are we ever going to be prepared to change. I think we are witnessing some things that are similar to the ideals of communism, but these things are being introduced into a system of freedom. Sharing is just one more freedom. Sharing is good. Nobody is going to conspire to take away freedom and get away with it. But you are right to call it communism, so I guess I am just rambling to the jury.

Micha Sass

I love GNU/Linux with all of my heart, but I cant help thinking the GNU licence is sort of (hate to say it) voluntary fascism. Fortunately, the more 'free-market' type organizations such as Ubuntu make it very easy for Linux users to place equally 'fascist' non-open drivers into the system. I thought CC always seemed to come from the 'free-market' end of sharing stuff. Ooh, also, why is it words like fascist, and communist look so extreme, when describing something. They are after-all just ideals. Historically they both are responsible for a lot of dead people, so maybe thats why they get a raised eyebrow. Well hate to say it, but capitalism has got some blood on its paws too. No-body is saying 'oh no, capitalism, remember they dropped that nasty h-bomb on several non-combatant Japanese citizens.' or maybe they do..In North Korea. So lets move on..change. Something new.

Micha Sas

"Ubuntu make it very easy for Linux users to place equally 'fascist' non-open drivers into the system."

apologies..'fascist' should read 'un-free' in this statement.


Prokofy wrote:
"CC doesn't provide a service and walk away. Instead, CC says it "issues a license" that you can copy as an icon and put on your site. It doesn't just suggest language, it presses you into a collective that is making "a common culture" that is a "free culture". It's a cult, a movement, a shill."

So, are you objecting to the (admittedly dumb) iconography CC uses to signify different types of licenses?

And further, is your problem with the boilerplate language CC offers to people that it comes from CC? Having discussed this with several of my professors (I am a law student) as well as a few former colleagues (prominent IP/media law attorneys), I can say with a high degree of certainty that the language Creative Commons offers for copyright holders to license work under is no different than the work product that would come from a white-shoe law firm that was given a similar task.

You could try writing your own, but it would likely be far less airtight.

And if you read the text of the licenses, it is clear that they utilize copyright law to strengthen the power of the author to grant certain rights, not undermine copyright. Without copyright, there would be no CC, because there would be no underlying law to base the license on (a license which the COPYRIGHT HOLDER GRANTS TO A LICENSEE).

In any transaction involving CC-authored licensing language, CC itself is a third party. Nothing more, nothing less. If A licenses work to B using CC's license, CC has NO standing to do anything at all except possibly file an amicus brief in support of A if B breaches the terms of the license.

What's your point?

Eric Rice/Spin Martin

Good friend of mine is a fashion photographer. He makes a living from it. He also puts photos on flickr with a Creative Commons license on it saying you can go ahead and use them this way and that way. He's the copyright holder. He can do that. Except the US Copyright office doesn't do that-- they don't even connect you to him. Luckily, CC is in place on Flickr and it's pretty clear that he's agreed that you can do with certain works.

Some work is all rights reserved. Some, like photos of things non-fashion related-- are CC. I can use them in a blog or in SL or anywhere. And I use them because they are EXCELLENT. Because he is an excellent photographer, someone I would pay if I had a need for fashion photography. Certainly someone I'll recommend for people needing fashion photographers.

He makes the choice (not you) to put his work out there, tell you ahead of time you can use it, and makes a living because of the awareness of his work (which is top notch).

I've said before that it's a great marketing thing-- even though that's not totally in line with the official pitch of CC, but whatever I'm a realist. I don't distinguish between giving free product away for the first 100 customers, or giving away some variant of my product for free (sunset photos are free, but I make money by being hired for projects).

The only people I imagine that would be irritated about this are those that compete who don't want to give away product at all.

It's just not that big of a deal to me anymore. Saves people hassle (like labeling my product free-trade or organic instead of requiring you to CALL ME) and gets my work and name out there to get the money for my overpriced car.

Prokofy Neva

AGF, if you want to continue posting here, you have to put either a recognizable SL or RL name or blogger's name.

What is my point? Um, read my two posts and read your law books and realize that CC has no need to exist and undermines the power of copyright and undermines commerce and the commercial potential of art.

You're only a law student, not a lawyer yet. But you don't need to be a lawyer to understand that you *do not need these "licenses" of CC to claim your copyright and that *you do not need licenses* from this third party to get PERMISSIONS from the author to use his stuff -- which you can get merely by writing him easily on the, uh, World Wide Web.

Who cares if the language is the same? A white-shoe law firm wouldn't tell you to give away in perpetuity your rights in this fashion if they were sensible and not part of the cult. The CC licenses are limited and deliberately discourage commerce. Is that what your law firm does, discourages commerce, IP, and making money? How's that working out for them?!

No law firm in the history of the universe came up with something like the equivalent of these silly CC "licenses" on its own. Doesn't that tell you something?! It took the abstract and utopianist lawyer Lessig to do this.

If you read about Lessig's career, you see that he has clerked, or represented several clients in impact-litigation sorta of cases, but not really had years of serving in a firm such as to gain practical experience. It's all ideological. He's had years of teaching in law schools and forming non-profits to accomplish various utopian goals, but not had to face the realities that regularly practicing lawyers in the real world have to face. It's that abstraction that explains how he has come up with this fictional virtual world called "the creative commons" where happy little "licenses" are dispensed by benign dictators.

No, they don't strengthen shit. They strengthen *themselves* as a pseudo-"licensing" authority -- which they aren't. Nobody needs to hang these tokens on their works to either a) claim copyright or b) share. If people want to use their stuff, they can write. It's part of bringing back the social injunction that should obtain and which is eroded by the belief that this entity called CC does something for you.

CC is *an unnecessary third party*. At least you can admit it is indeed a third party! CC itself doesn't tell you that, it behaves like a government agency saying it "offers licenses" like "fishing licenses" from a state fisheries agency. Absurd. It has no power or authority.

As for the "license" that the copyright holder grants to a recipient, if this were for sale or commercial use, it might make sense. But...a license to have something for free? Huh? that's what's so absurd. The spreading of this idea that you need to license something to be held for free for personal, non-commercial use, and yet never allow it to get you money, as a commercial operation. That's terribly whacked.

Eric, why would you need the U.S. copyright office to do anything? and why "lucky for him"? He can just offer his works with written explanations and customize a lot better than he can with CC.

I don't care if it is "his choice". Everybody has the right to make "their choice" and I have the right to tell them they are misleading people into thinking they *have* to do it this way. They don't! It would be one thing if they made this choice on their own; but when they take these ridiculous tokens, they partake of a cult, and a cult that keeps spreading its undermining ideology.

How is it a great marketing thing, except as a shill spreading hippie commune culture -- or really, it is better named technocommunist culture pretending it is making a "public commons" for us all (unasked for, undemocratically).

Why should people give away products?

And yes, all those people pressed into giving away everything do in fact undermine those trying to charge - it's like the freebie culture of SL that is overrepresented everywhere. Good thing much of RL doesn't work that way, good thing much of RL is still off the Internet, and good thing CC is not THAT widespread infecting the entire economy or we'd really be in a terrible place!

You're still evading the one thing I want to hear from: an explanation of how/when/if/whether it really does make money. How it *works*. You're terribly vague about that and have always been. You put out a bunch of free textures or whatever. How does that lead to cash and consulting jobs? How can you prove that it does, when it merely may be perceived of as just "oh, that happening website that Eric made" or "that SL build that we can hang out in" or something? Seriously what is the mechanism for turning free into paid?

I bet you can't really say. Because you can't measure it. Because not everybody can get it to work. Because even you can't.

How can you tie "giving the sunset photo away for free" as being *the reason and the mechanism* for being hired for projects?! You can't! You are hired to do this or that campaign or project or build, and the freebies on your website are like calendars in a dentist's office -- and he can totally not care that the calendars are given away for free because he isn't a calendar maker, but a dentist charging a fortune to work on your teeth.

You are not hired for your sunset photos; you're hired for organizational ability, media savvy, etc. So why claim it's about the CC-laden sunsets?!

All it is, is that you as a fancy high-priced Silicon Valley consultant have dentists' calendars, Spin!

But if you *are* a calendar maker, making calendars and trying to sell them, then the proliferation of all these dentists could become a problem!

Gareth Nelson

"No law firm in the history of the universe came up with something like the equivalent of these silly CC "licenses" on its own. Doesn't that tell you something?!"

I once had a law firm send a cease and desist letter asking for some very specific actions to be stopped. No law firm in the universe ever wrote a letter asking for those specific actions to stop on its own - it required a client asking them.

"CC is *an unnecessary third party*. At least you can admit it is indeed a third party! CC itself doesn't tell you that, it behaves like a government agency saying it "offers licenses" like "fishing licenses" from a state fisheries agency. Absurd. It has no power or authority."

CC never claim to have any kind of "power or authority" - if you want to be picky and (shock horror) literalist, they offer "documents that can be used to grant licenses". Most of us call such documents just "licenses" though, even if technically it's not a license until it's applied to a work.

Point out where on the CC site they claim or imply they're an authority on anything other than CC.

Eric Rice

I thought I explained it already.

1. Give free stuff away to get it out there. For free. Your stuff.
2. Get hired and paid for making stuff -or- sell different stuff.

When I post stuff out there and tell you can use it (just give credit) then people see it, guess what? People see my work, use my work, and can find out other stuff I do.

Here is a render I did.
You and anyone else reading this will see that you are allowed to use it, modify it, just not for profit, and give credit. Use it in your next blog post. That's why it's there. I've chosen to represent -that- work that way.

I don't -personally- have a need or desire to measure in some clinical tekkie way that THAT image generated X sales. I can ask 'how'd you hear about me?' and that's good enough.

What's important is that it is a stepping stone to a bigger project. (and great marketing to un-SLize myself in certain circles).

One more thing--it may or may not help your understanding of my view, but I've done graphic design/commercial art for almost 20 years. Maybe that's why I like it-- because I can make a free commodity and leverage that to get bigger projects.

And the same goes for advice. I'll lend an ear and offer pointers when asked (for free). Deeper involvement and consulting? That'll cost. At least I'll have a trusted track record.

If you compete with me, none of this is my problem, it's yours.

God bless capitalism. :)

Prokofy Neva

Eric, and I thought I made it crystal clear already, too:

1. You give away stuff, but you are not hired to make pictures of sunsets that are of the freebie variety. You are not hired for that which you give out for free.

2. You don't give out for free what you *are* hired to do, which is more complex project management and creativity. Hell, no! And that's a good thing, or you couldn't pay your bills.

Now, what's hard about all this to understand?! CC is just a cultural affectation.

Nobody ever independent and critically reviews -- and investigates -- how much CC stuff clogging up the tubes is in fact used; how much of it in fact then brings people cash. You know that as well as I do.

I think you do need to get a little more clinical and tekkie and ask: does this giveaway crap really work? Should I charge for more stuff?

I don't see that you are really leveraging anything to get bigger projects, like a taste of dip is handed out in a super market to get people to buy the whole jar. I think you are making and selling something essentially different than the freebies.

If you actually relied on people buying the sunsets, you'd be in trouble. Like the millions of people struggling to sell their sunsets.

Gareth Nelson

Micha, about this:
"I love GNU/Linux with all of my heart, but I cant help thinking the GNU licence is sort of (hate to say it) voluntary fascism"

The GPL is what gives you the right to modify any part of the system as appropriate, if you're a hardcore linux user you'll likely be recompiling your kernel at times - the kernel which only has so much source available because of the GPL. Bit hard to call that facist when it's basically the thing giving you all that freedom.

Yumi Murakami

I think this is more about a general problem with social media, not with the CC in particular.

I've written a song. I'll send it to you, for a dollar. Are you going to pay me that dollar? I doubt it very much. I might be lying, the song might not be any good, and so on. Even if you are the rare person who will take a risk on a statement like that, what if there are 10000 musicians saying the same thing? Nobody would spend $10000 investigating them all.

So, I'll give my song away for free, and if you like it, you'll buy my other songs because now you trust me and know I write good music. Great! But then 10000 musicians do the same thing. So if the average song is 3 minutes long and the average person listens to music for an hour a day, they now have all the music they will need for the best part of two years. Free.

Finding a happy medium between these is going to be a challenge for social media, and while I agree CC isn't the pure answer, it is valuable for allowing an extra supported choice for those who want to use it.

Oh, and Prok, since you are going to keep raising my point that I was "burned" by the economy whenever I mention this: my business did succeed in SL for a while, and made tier. I stopped caring once I realised that people in SL were always going to basically want generic chat and sex, and not have interest in the kind of RP that I was interested in, no matter how much I built. This added to the fact that scripters now have to choose between frantically combing SL for exploits to create themselves a niche, and doing hourly custom work for rates far less than any programmer would find acceptable. "Tekkies" don't have it that great no matter how much you seem to think they do :)

Gareth Nelson

"So if the average song is 3 minutes long and the average person listens to music for an hour a day, they now have all the music they will need for the best part of two years. Free."

That assumes (quite wrongly) that all music is equal. I'm fond of quite a few artists on and would happily pay for their albums if they were sold in CD form, but of the music i've sampled there (several 100 different artists) less than 10 artists produce music I find pleasing.

Yumi Murakami

Gareth, you're right - not everyone will like every song. But you can see my point - when the market channel becomes too thin, freebies start to mount up as marketing aids. The same applies to freebies in SL, many people complain that there are too many, even though only a relatively small number appeal to each individual av.

Darien Caldwell

That sunset picture is a great example of why CC makes no sense.

So it's non-commercial use only. The only thing you can do with it is print it out and hang it on a wall, or put it on your desktop (like I just did :P).

But you could do both of those things under Copyright, so what is the difference exactly? What makes CC 'better'? I didn't gain any specific rights from CC that I wouldn't have under Copyright and Fair Use.

And if I'm missing something, by all means explain.

Yumi Murakami

Darien, under copyright, you CAN'T print it out and hang it on a wall - printing it out is making a copy.

You can't use it as your wallpaper either, because that saves an extra copy on your PCs hard disk.

Both of these need licensing, and CC gives people an easy proforma license to enable sharing and similar things if they want to. CC doesn't do commercial licensing because people who're going to make money can pay their own dang lawyers. :)

Dale Innis

"" What makes CC 'better'? I didn't gain any specific rights from CC that I wouldn't have under Copyright and Fair Use. ""

It depends on the CC license. But I suspect you're overestimating what copyright actually allows us to do.

If I have a weblog, even a non-commercial one, it's probably a violation of the copyright law for me to take a copy of a picture from flickr (say), put it on my website, and use it in my weblog's decorative header.

It's certainly a violation of copyright law for me to take it, posterize it (creating a derivative work), and put it into my weblog header.

In fact, it's probably a violation of copyright law, strictly speaking, to just take a copy of it and use that copy as my desktop background. (Read what Fair Use actually allows, at least in the U.S., and I think you'll find that that use isn't covered.)

These are sort of de minimus violations, and no one's likely to sue or prosecute you for them. But the fact that they are violations, but lots of people do them every day anyway, seems like a pity, and seems like it might weaken copyright.

On the other hand if something on flickr has a license, based on whatever form of words, that clearly grants the world the right to make copies of the thing for non-commercial use with attribution, and perhaps also allows the creation of derivative works (as some of the CC licenses do and some don't), then you and I can those things *without* violating copyright law.

And that seems like a good thing.

Prokofy Neva

The notion that it is "a violation of copyright law" to take one copy of something that is on the Internet, print it out, and put it up on your wall, or put it on your desktop is a fallacy that of course CC and its boosters try to fan.

Again, if you make claims like this, *find me the court case that rules in favour of an irate creator who discovered that GASP somebody "violated copyright law* by printing out *one copy* of their sunset photo and put it on their wall or GASP put their one copy on their one computer screen.

Uh, you won't find any such case. Any such case would be thrown out as absolutely frivolous and a waste of everyone's time.

You don't need CC to do this; copyright doesn't enforce against you to use one copy.

If you resold the sunset photo on your website, that would be infringement. In fact, a case might be made that if you took the photo and offered it as a free screensaver to enhance your own business/website that it might be seen as infringement. But your use of it on your own computer or own home is not likely to be pursued as infringement.

Therefore speculating in literalist and obsessive fashion about this, and claiming that copyright law "does this" is misleading and false. It's merely meant to create a fake threat to drive people to use CC "and be safe".

Copyright law is two things:

o law that is intrinsic that grants you a right without you having to register or obtain a license or issue a license -- it's yours

o law that requires enforcement and judicial decisions that are incorporated as law

Those in the civil law context (and that includes tekkie coders who imagine "code is law") interpret law as something that is defined exhaustively and literally to every jot and tittle.

But those in the common law system understand that laws on the books aren't exhaustively defining of every situation and require judicial review and interpretation, and then *that precedent* becomes part of how the law is viewed and enforced.

I personally think common law societies make for more freedom, more free enterprise, and more flexiblity in adapting to changing situations even while enshrining judicial principles. The U.S. Constitution and its court are a brilliant invention.

So again, I can only challenge those fretting about having now just "violated copyright law" by printing out Spin's sunset and putting it up on their wall or desktop to find me a court case where someone like yourself was hounded and pursued.

And that would not be someone who downloaded one mp3 off Limewire. They'd have to have many, many repeated acts over time and shared multiple copies to fall into one of those notorious lawsuits against "some kid in Peoria that only listened to a tune".

Go ahead, I'll wait.

Dale Innis

I don't think anyone's said that one will be hounded and pursued for making a single copy of a copyrighted work for personal use. It might well be that no one has ever been either prosecuted or sued for doing that, I don't know. But it is still a violation of the copyright law. There are lots of law violations that are so small that no one bothers punishing anyone for them.

It's still true, though, that people who want to actually obey the law (rather than just avoid punishment) will be willing to make copies of copyrighted works, for whatever use, only if they have a license. Darien asked what the difference was, and we were just answering him: that's the difference.

Prokofy Neva

Many literalists and coders obsessed with "code as law" continue to obsess over the idea that "any" copy of copyrighted material "is a violation".

But it isn't. Read the law. Read the judicial decisions. There isn' any "literalist" notion of "yes, technically that's a violation". Nowhere.

If nothing else, read Wikipedia:

From Wikipedia:

Fair use and fair dealing
Main articles: Fair use and Fair dealing

Copyright does not prohibit all copying or replication. In the United States, the fair use doctrine, codified by the Copyright Act of 1976 as 17 U.S.C. § 107, permits some copying and distribution without permission of the copyright holder or payment to same. The statute does not clearly define fair use, but instead gives four non-exclusive factors to consider in a fair use analysis. Those factors are:

1. the purpose and character of the use;
2. the nature of the copyrighted work;
3. the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
4. the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.[26]

In the United Kingdom and many other Commonwealth countries, a similar notion of fair dealing was established by the courts or through legislation. The concept is sometimes not well defined; however in Canada, private copying for personal use has been expressly permitted by statute since 1999. In Australia, the fair dealing exceptions under the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth) are a limited set of circumstances under which copyrighted material can be legally copied or adapted without the copyright holder's consent. Fair dealing uses are research and study; review and critique; news reportage and the giving of professional advice (i.e. legal advice). Under current Australian law it is still a breach of copyright to copy, reproduce or adapt copyright material for personal or private use without permission from the copyright owner. Other technical exemptions from infringement may also apply, such as the temporary reproduction of a work in machine readable form for a computer.

Gareth Nelson

Prok - if I take a random picture from flickr, download it and then recycle it for use on my own site then that definitely is a violation of copyright law, and one that could (if the author pushes it) get me into trouble.

I'm not an expert on the subtleties of fair use, but i'd agree that merely printing out a work and turning it into a poster at the very least isn't going to anger most reasonable authors enough to go after you (whether or not they actually could is irrelevant if they won't).

The point though with CC in particular is for the simple cases where you do want to follow the letter of the law (a sensible idea for anything public at least), or where the issue is not so grey. I wouldn't want to use a flickr image on my personal website for example unless it had a suitable license (either a CC license or private correspondence from the author saying "go ahead", or any other suitable form of license). If the author uses a CC license, I can tell straight away what permissions i'm being given without needing to waste time contacting them.

Simple way to sum this up is that you should obtain a license anytime you want to use someone else's copyrighted work unless you're certain your use constitutes fair use.

Yumi Murakami

Prokofy, it _is_ a copyright violation to print out an image and put it on your wall without permission. Nobody has been sued for it. But the key point is that it's not in the interests of creators, or anyone, for any large number of people to be in the position of "technically broken the law but hasn't been sued". And, moreover, it weakens the creator's ability _to_ sue if they do discover a violation. Licensing it is a much safer option for the creator and the users.

Micha Sass

@Gareth .. I did say 'voluntary fascism', which was an oxymoron, considering fascism has a history of violently forcing its policy.
But here is a thread to read if you want to see the argument in full motion.

posted on a Microsoft forum, so should be taken with a pinch of sodium chloride.

Let me repeat, I love sharing, and I love choice. Freedom is good. Any organization that attempts to clarify a creators wishes, in order that a creator can share some work knowing that their wishes have been expressed very great. I think CC is attempting this.

I still cannot see why CC is affecting Prokofy. Other than the fact that he may have to stop selling freebies for 10L$, due to it not being the expressed wish of the original creator. I think the media at large are threatened by a number of factors, CC may be one of them. It certainly is not the only reason the newspapers and publishing houses are going down the tubes. The 10 big media companies of the US will figure it out.

Dale Innis

It's not "code as law", Prokofy, it's "law as law". :) In the U.S. the Fair Use provisions of the statute are rather vague (which is why I said "probably"), but as far as I know the "amount" clause has always been interpreted to mean that reproducing an *entire work* is not a Fair Use. In Australia, as your citation says, it is reasonably settled law that a single copy for personal use *is* a violation. In Canada it isn't. But I don't know of any place where the production of a derivative work (the posterized weblog header image, in my example) is not a violation, even for personal use. You're *supposed to have the creator's permission*.

I find it slightly bizarre that you've gone from worrying about CC somehow increasing casual violation sof copyright law and that being a terrible communist plot to destroy commerce, to now telling people that it's *okay* to casually violate copyright law, a little, now and then, because probably you won't be punished and likely the creator doesn't mind anyway, and in some places it might count as Fair Use or fair dealing because of something that you found on Wikipedia (a source that you have in the past declaimed as corrupt and unreliable).

Talk about weakening respect for copyright law! :)

Prokofy Neva

Yumi, are you in some country where the law says this? It would not be the U.S. then. Please point to a U.S. law that makes it a copyright violation to print out one copy of a picture and hang it on your wall. There is no such law. Truly there isn't. It's not even that you can somehow extract a literalism out of a law saying this. That's because "fair use" governs the law.

It's not even that you can say "oh, it's a mild violation of the law that is never prosecuted" or "everybody does it, but technically, yes, it's a violation.'

It's that it is NOT a violation.

As you can read on Wikipedia (but ask any lawyer or go to any website of any law school), it tells you that this "fair use" isn't defined, but that isn't somehow due to lack of skill, or lack of precision, or poor drafting work. It's because common law works best by NOT forseeing, predicting, encoding, and forbidding every last aspect of a phenomenon. That's the essence of the common law concept. It doesn't attempt to prescript, the way civil law or code-as-law does.

The law has 4 concepts for how you would determine fair use, as guiding principles. And that's great. That works. Nobody needs a 4-volume set of laws governing this, just like they don't need a "press law" when you have the First Amendment.

You do not need the creator's permission to print out a copy and put it on your wall. Printing it for your own wall or computer screen is not a violation of copyright because it *meets the fair use test*.

There is no violation. Again, if you feel that is the case, then please find me a court case punishing someone under such a law. If such law exists, then it would need to be enforced. It isn't just that it isn't enforced; it that it doesn't exist when it is not enforced in this literalist obsessive manner. In fact, if you really believe this, find a law that says "you can't copy, no, not even one copy for yourself". Go ahead, I'm waiting.

Yumi, it isn't that there is some sort of "laxness" and it's "just that people haven't been sued". It's that *there is no principle under which they *could* be sued when the law is not interpreted in this manner*. Certainly not in the U.S., and I dare say any of the common law countries, either, but go ahead, and find me an example if you really believe this.

In fact, Lessig is able to be the intellectual bully that he is on this subject precisely because he and Cory Doctorow and others got people to believe these fictions about the law, that they are cumbersome, or intrusive, or unfair, or unrealistic, and therefore you "need" their cultic totemic symbols to "be free".

But you don't. You're already free, and you already have rights and you are already not punished for fair use, but you are enjoined to respect those rights *so that artists can make a living*.

There isn't anything more fake -- and in fact more sinister -- as they substitute their cult for what is in fact freedom under the law.

Fair use goes a very long way, and in a context with law and social injunction against plagiarizing, goes even further. It would be enough on the Internet, especially given its easy capacity for contacting people easily by email and providing notices easily on websites.

As virtual worlds become more widespread, they will likely be at the cutting edge of both creating a DRM regime that really is respected and works, even with its hacking, and creating a culture that is not free, but is micropaid -- and God bless them for it.

Creative Commons and its twisted interpretation of real copyright law and practice continue to undermine creators' rights, continue to wear away respect for the creator and his rights and their linkage to commerce, and continues to replace viable enterprise with communistic utopian extremism.

Although communistic ventures can often have a very long run, in the end, they fall apart as they are contrary to life and nature.

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