[Foundation-l] Blogs vs. Wikis

Gregory Maxwell gmaxwell at gmail.com
Sun Apr 15 03:29:43 UTC 2007

On 4/14/07, Erik Moeller <erik at wikimedia.org> wrote:
> I think Sam's point was rather that it would be sensible for copyleft
> (and other) licenses to include a provision for earlier expiry of
> copyright than the default, i.e. life of the author + 70. Instead, it
> could be something like 14 years. After that period, the license would
> revert to the most permissive model allowable under the governing
> legal system (ideally PD). Which I would agree with, but it should be
> done as part of a concerted effort for copyright reform.

Ah, apologies for my misunderstanding but that doesn't change my position.

When considering the duration of copyright, copyleft becomes perhaps
more important....

In the US copyright is now effectively perpetual. In Eldredge vs
Ashcroft the US supreme court ruled that repeated retroactive
extensions do not violate the US constitutional requirement that
copyrights be reserved only for "limited times".

Already today we see many instances of free works falling out of the
public domain because access to the public domain copies is lost to
all except a few who only release modified and encumbered versions.
We have no reason to expect this practice to stop, especially with the
advent of webcasters/broadcasters rights providing additional levers
to encumber works.

The "freedom to encumber" works is like the "freedom to punch someone"
... They are both 'freedoms' that only exists at the expense of
others.  It can be argued that both sorts of 'freedom' can have
important purposes in a civilized society, and that they need to be
allowed in certain contexts. Freedom to encumber, may be needed to
encourage content creation, while the freedom to assault someone may
be needed for self-defense.

We usually don't see people trying to argue for the expansion of other
freedoms that only come at the expense of others in the name of
"freedom", so I'm not quite sure why we'd see freedom used as an
argument for limited duration for copyleft.

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