CopyLeft Commies

I guess that I’m a Copyleft commie, if you believe Bill Gates. Here’s Bill’s comment that launched a thousand blogs:

"No, I’d say that of the world’s economies, there’s more that believe in intellectual property today than ever. There are fewer communists in the world today than there were. There are some new modern-day sort of communists who want to get rid of the incentive for musicians and moviemakers and software makers under various guises. They don’t think that those incentives should exist."

Follow this with Michelle Delio’s overview of some of the issues around patents and open source:

  • Recently
    IBM just gave a few hundred of them [patents] away while other companies are greedily gobbling them up.
  • The issue – "The real story here is that we are in the midst of a huge revolution because the patent system hasn’t kept up with technology and changes in society," says Sunstein [an attorney specializing in intellectual property law].

On the other hand, Creative Commons offers creators an option to control their own copyright – With a Creative Commons license, you keep your copyright but allow people to copy and distribute your work provided they give you credit — and only on the conditions you specify here.

There is also a Canadian petition circulating on user’s rights, which gives a different perspective from what one hears from the established media companies. If you want a good (US) historical perspective, then read or listen to Lessig’s book, Free Culture.

Finally, if you think that the movement for copyright and patent reform is just a bunch of radical commies, then you should read Will Shetterly’s Biblical parable to see what happens when an idea/technology, ?ɬ† la McLuhan, "flips or reverses its properties into the opposite effect when pushed to its limits".

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