[Foundation-l] Blogs vs. Wikis

Ray Saintonge saintonge at telus.net
Sun Apr 15 07:01:20 UTC 2007

Gregory Maxwell wrote:

>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".
It remains to be seen whether congress will extend beyond 95 years when 
this comes up around the year 2018.  Even if it has accomplished nothing 
else the free software movement has made lawmakers aware that there is 
another side to the copyright story than the one that has been pushed by 
industry.  With more awareness will come more opposition to such 
extensions.  Through most of the history of coyright it was impractical 
for anyone to reprint extensive amounts of material unless there was a 
potential profit to the exercise.  Now it's fairly easy for anyone to 
duplicate things in his home, and distribute it at no charge.

>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.
Publications do not fall out of the public domain that easily.  
Republishing old PD material does not generate new copyrights.  New 
creative effort is required.  If all the modern person has done is write 
a new introduction that new introduction is protected but not the rest 
of the book.

>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.
"Freedom to encumber" seems like a novel legal theory.  It would be 
interesting to see what case back up your idea.


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