Intellectual Property

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Sign Lessig's Petition

Larry Lessig has posted a "Reclaim the Public Domain" petition. My signature is the 910th one on the list, and people are signing it every minute! One thing that puzzles me, though, is this excerpt from the letter:

One solution in particular that we ask Congress to consider is the Public Domain Enhancement Act. See http://eldred.cc This statute would require American copyright owners to pay a very low fee (for example, $1) fifty years after a copyrighted work was published. If the owner pays the fee, the copyright will continue for whatever duration Congress sets. But if the copyright is not worth even $1 to the owner, then we believe the work should pass into the public domain.

Would the Public Domain Enhancement Act really work? Wouldn't the vast majority of copyright owners pay that dollar?

Homiletics: Intellectual Property and Authorship Paradigms

Last semester, in John Logie's RIPPI class, we talked a lot about authorship and intellectual property through the ages. When we talked about the medieval period, Logie noted that at that time, most people didn't think about knowledge in ownership terms. Knowledge was from God: It was freely given by God, so in turn, Christians should freely share it. Yesterday, someone was telling me about a pastor who, some church members alleged, got his sermons from the Internet and didn't cite them. Another person, a member of the church in question, didn't see anything wrong with that. She said, "Of course you get help. Of course you look at books and Web sites. No one writes all that by himself." That got me thinking. What are the paradigms of intellectual property and authorship when it comes to homiletics? A quick search for "intellectual property homiletics" led me to the text of a "public lecture" given by a minister/theologian, and preceding the transcript of the lecture, I found this:

NOTE: All public lectures appear by permission of their authors. These lectures are posted as a service to our readers, with the trust that all conventions of fair use and respect for intellectual property will be followed with respect to this material.

I see a conflict here. To what extent is the "freely given, freely shared" paradigm still in effect? Could be quite an interesting dissertation topic for someone!

Cross-posted at Kairosnews.

New Music and Ennui

Bought three new CDs last night:

  • The White Stripes: Elephant
  • The Donnas: Spend the Night
  • Lucinda Williams: World Without Tears

They all rock. I must admit, though, that the purchase of Elephant was somewhat of a political move because of the band's stance on intellectual property.

Anyway, the music is great, and that's really all I have to say about it...which leads me to the ennui part.

Lessig: The Internet Is Dying

Andrew Orlowski is drawing our attention to Larry Lessig's important argument against regulated spectrum, which Lessig lays out in detail in his book The Future of Ideas: The Fate of the Commons in a Connected World. That's all well and good, but look what Orlowski says after ranting about email spam:


Google has its own spam problems: a tiny number of webloggers and list-makers whose mindless hyperlinks degrade the value of its search results, and create the Web equivalent of TV static.

Did Orlowski have to go there? Erin Ferdinand of Utne reviews the article.

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