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Control vs. Freedom and Creativity


A great flash+voice presentation by Professor Lessig on free culture (transcript) from OSCON 2002.
This was the first time I watched one of his talks. I had read about his presentation and PowerPoint skills, and I was really amazed.

The one thing I found lacking was a proposed trade-off between control by large "lawyer-backed" corporations that produce IP (media, software,...) and fair-use and "unregulated" uses (copying, studying, reverse engineering, lending, selling,...) by the masses. His historical analysis clearly shows that copyright laws has been extending and "ours is less and less a free society" (see the song from the presentation), but he doesn't describe what he would think as a reasonable balance for this digital era.
In his blog, he describes a proposal that he is trying to get integrated into the copyright laws by Congress: copyright would expire after a certain time and a fee or tax would be required to maintain a copyright on a piece of media after that.

I think it comes down to whether more money can be made by controlling the use of creations or publishing more creative and less regulated work. When the community will turns its back on companies that abuse their control (say Sony using the DMCA to prevent re-programming the AIBO), maybe it will become profitable for these to release their grip.
Are we living in a world of scarcity where every last penny must be collected for your lending a digital book to a friend or are we living in a world of opportunities where giving some freedom back to the community and allowing competition both benefit to creativity and progress?


It's interesting to see how the DMCA is being abused recently in far-fetched cases (printer cartridges, garage door remotes). I just hope there isn't a DMCA II in preparation the same way there is a Patriot Act II on the boards.

Via slashdot, a great essay by Orson Scott Card on mp3s and the music industry:

Posted by: Dumky (September 25, 2003 12:48 AM)
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