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lifesnotreadonly.net - some sort of outcry

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User offline. Last seen 11 years 1 day ago. Offline
Joined: 2006-07-28

I have just finished constructing a very small website about copyright, filesharing and internet culture in general. It's called lifesnotreadonly.net.
This is by no means a very serious project, but some sort of outcry. The goal is to try to make people reflect a little and "counter" the voices of the RIAA and MPAA..

There are things that just got me so frustrated, this summer, while I read Naomi Klein's No Logo and Lawrence Lessig's Free Culture, that I really felt a desire to burst out. The content of the site was written in 10min in a train in September and it changed very little since. I only found the time to finish it up this week.

As much as GetGNULinux.org is a well-thought attempt to communicate something with a community, as much lifesnotreadonly.net is not. It's not something I intend to develop much and calls to completely different parts in me... it is more about "awakening" than "constructing". It does not have a very clear conclusion, it does not have a political stand. It's really simply a result of the incredible ease with which one can speak out on the internet today.

Still, I wanted to know if you had thoughts about it. Do you think the message that comes through is appropriate? Does it not get into slippery slopes by being not quite clear about the morality of copyright infringement? I'd be curious to know.
Cheers,

Olivier.

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Excellent site. Sometimes

Excellent site. Sometimes one page of inspired expressions can mean just as much as a whole mumbo-jumbo portal like Libervis.com. Eye

Well done man! You were inspired and you just went and expressed yourself. More people should be like that. This deserves a big digg! Smiling

Cheers
Danijel

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User offline. Last seen 11 years 8 weeks ago. Offline
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Very nice. My comments: -

Very nice. My comments:

- Don't mix up copyrights and trademarks. They can be abused in similar ways, but they're not quite the same thing.

- You could mention copyright is not quite a "right". It is artificially created by taking away a right from everyone except the author. This is different from, for example, the right to live, which everyone has and which is protected instead of limited.

Maybe "copyright law" should be named "law against copying" Laughing out loud .

User offline. Last seen 10 years 12 weeks ago. Offline
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very nice

That was great. I can't describe it too well, but I really liked the loose-flowing-keep-going feeling of the site.

But the a thing must a thing, so: invalid XHTML.

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idontknowctmwhatsthepointofcapitallettersorspacesorpunctuation

User offline. Last seen 11 years 1 day ago. Offline
Joined: 2006-07-28
cheers

Thanks for the comments and compliments!

tbuitenh wrote:

- Don't mix up copyrights and trademarks. They can be abused in similar ways, but they're not quite the same thing.

- You could mention copyright is not quite a "right". It is artificially created by taking away a right from everyone except the author. This is different from, for example, the right to live, which everyone has and which is protected instead of limited.

Maybe "copyright law" should be named "law against copying" lol .

You are right here, but my purpose was to push people to reflect. I myself have not a quite mature opinion of new alternatives to the actual copyright system. Instead of proposing a new plan I just wanted to poke people so they look for one themselves Smiling
In fact I don't believe we can get many people to listen if we start by taking copyright down; I don't believe that we are going to get away with it anyway. But it's a guaranteed effect when you talk to someone deep into "copyright is sacred" ideas, and say: "do you know a speech pronounced by a black American in the 60s, that goes "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."?, do you think you would be allowed to freely copy, print, distribute that speech?"
And then you move on:
"Oh, and do you know a song that goes "Haaapy biiirthday tooo youuuu...."? "
At worst, it will unsettle a faith in the legitimacy of copyright. At best, it will shatter it into a million pieces. That was the effect on me (the song when viewing the documentary "The Corporation", and the MLK speech when a_thing posted this on Libervis a while back).
That is simply the goal of the website: unsettle people if they are about to swallow the "copyright properness" of the RIAA/MPAA.

But otherwise I fully agree with you, on both the copyright/trademark distinction and the purpose of copyright. There's a very good video by Mark Webbink from Red Hat that explains the different types of "Intellectual Property" in our legal system. I could have pointed to it, but I was just afraid it would be too much (out of the scope of the website).

a_thing wrote:

But the a thing must a thing, so: invalid XHTML.

Aw! How could I forget that?! (knocking myself on the head).
I am offline most of the time, so the few hours of connectivity available (usually 8:30-11 and 14-16, great when you also have studies to pursue :-S ) were spent checking and assembling links, and I forgot the validation completely. It's fixed now. Thanks for mentioning.

If you can think of better links that should be on that website, feel free to suggest. I think I might only add a CC license to the site and then leave it that way.

As for the digg, it's ready now.

Great! I'm back to studies now, and after that I'll work on GetGNULinux.org again Smiling
Olivier.

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Copyright, as bad as it is,

Copyright, as bad as it is, shouldn't necessarily be abolished in my opinion. It should merely be shrunk back to what it originally was in order to properly serve the purpose it was intended for, to promote creativity and innovation rather than stifle it as it happens today.

How to achieve it? I suppose making a pressure with popularizing freely licensed works is one way to do it from within the system itself. If too many people start using licenses that turn copyright into copyleft and it ends up that the best creativity of the world and ultimately even the best related businesses of the world are around this freely licensed realm, people may want to rethink copyright and how useful it really is in a form in which the default license is restrictive.

Then there are two choices, either make the default license non-restrictive, and keep the current all-encompassing scope (the domination of free licenses makes such a large scope less of a problem) or reduce copyright to what it was, covering only commercial works and leaving everything else (which would mean an overwhelming portion of internet creativity) in the public domain.

I'm not yet sure what's the best of these two ways. There may be other specific solutions. One thing is quite obvious though; copyright needs to be reformed.

Btw, I dugg it. Smiling

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Thomas Jefferson quote
Thomas Jefferson wrote:

Accordingly, it is a fact, as far as I am informed, that England was, until we [the United States] copied her, the only country on earth which ever, by a general law, gave a legal right to the exclusive use of an idea. In some other countries it is sometimes done, in a great case, and by a special and personal act, but, generally speaking, other nations have thought that these monopolies produce more embarrassment than advantage to society; and it may be observed that the nations which refuse monopolies of invention, are as fruitful as England in new and useful devices.

Whole text.

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copyright

I agree with all three of you on the actual value of copyright and its limitations. I believe a must-read in this theme is Lawrence Lessig's book Free Culture.

However I am very sceptical as to our ability to surpass it, as you say libervisco, "it ends up that the best creativity of the world and ultimately even the best related businesses of the world are around this freely licensed realm". I think this will be very hard in a world where 90% of what one can create will be through the use of proprietary software and saved in proprietary formats. It is the way I envision the future.

Even with the best will in the world we will have a very hard time getting rid of the restrictions. Last week I did my shopping in a huge supermarket, I mean really huge (it's actually the largest in my country, so I came later to learn). It's hard to find a type of product for which the supermarket does not have their own brand, and it's even harder to find anything at all that they don't sell (fuel, dishwashers, books, fresh bread, fish, frozen food, clothes, jewellery, plane tickets, banking, everything is here). I came out really sickened by it all. (and I lost my own cart several times, like a grandma :-) )
Now I do not want to drift into hollow "anti-globalization" rants here. It just struck me that this kind of situation is really what we are tending towards in the software world. Very large corporations that have so much power that they eat everything. They don't even have to be made of evil people (I'm sure none of the supermarket employees were really enthusiastic about the size) and even a lot of common sense and goodwill cannot stop them.
The trend in the software world is that proprietary software is becoming symbiotic (like the supermarket selling its own brands) and exclusive - there will be not much space for free software people. The size of the budgets is very telling. Whole countries have GDPs smaller than the big players out there.

It might be that the internet can shuffle things again (lifesnotreadonly.net is really that), and that copyright loses its "value". But we are not getting away with the big ones, and if they can push free software into a corner, we might have to stick with today's copyright for a long while.

All of this leads me to come back to your statement libervisco...

libervisco wrote:

Sometimes one page of inspired expressions can mean just as much as a whole mumbo-jumbo portal like Libervis.com

... I disagree here, since a mere "statement" that fits in the flow of one page cannot come close to a whole mumbo-jumbo. More mumbo-jumbo, especially this kind of furthering, modest and peaceful mumbo-jumbo, is what we need in this world and on the internet Smiling
Olivier.

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First of all, even if

First of all, even if proprietary software isn't going to go away any time soon we should at least fight to preserve the right for Free Software to exist side by side. Then at least we can continue to do our thing, even if we never dominate. Some time, at the time of another major paradigm shift of cosmic scales maybe, even if it happens only after the 24th or so century, maybe the world at large will realize the right way and take it.

Some among us have already realized the right way, and if the majority of the world doesn't see it yet, it just makes us sort of privileged to have such a futuristic insights about our world. We should preserve that.

You, me, and most active guys on this forum are such people.

The end of your post seems to imply that the best way to face proprietary conglomerates is to become a conglomerate ourselves. Not sure if that's exactly what you wanted to say, but in either case I agree that we need powers of our own. The Community is IMO a sort of a conglomerate per the GPL, as I wrote recently.

This is also why I support making corporations out of our insights and out of Free Software and Free Culture. Since the whole freedom issue isn't incompatible with building wealth and power in a fair way, we should go all the way as high up as we can until we churn out respectable global powers of our own. It's a whole new free market here, in the Free Software land. Smiling

So let's just keep it up.

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libervisco wrote: First of
libervisco wrote:

First of all, even if proprietary software isn't going to go away any time soon we should at least fight to preserve the right for Free Software to exist side by side.

Yes, in fact I have only very recently understood why the FSF has started such an active campaign against DRM (in the recent Questions Please interview where Stallman spoke). I mean there's nothing really surprising about it, but why DRM amongst so many different causes? What is at stake is the very ability for Free Software to exist, the fact that it now comes in the way of the media companies selling DRM, instead of just being here along the side.

libervisco wrote:

The end of your post seems to imply that the best way to face proprietary conglomerates is to become a conglomerate ourselves. Not sure if that's exactly what you wanted to say, but in either case I agree that we need powers of our own. The Community is IMO a sort of a conglomerate per the GPL, as I wrote recently.

This is not quite what I wanted to express, although I agree. I meant more that lifesnotreadonly.net is a one-time, static "outcry", and as such it does not come close, in my opinion, to the activity, evolution, progress, of a portal like libervis. In Libervis things move, things change, and that's priceless.

About conglomerates:
I think at least part of the answer to this domination of conglomerates is diversity. It is like feeling the need to buy things in different places rather than in this huge supermarket. It's difficult to explain, culture-wise.
For example in software, I love the fact that from me to you right now, there's the GNU pieces, the Linux kernel, the Gnome desktop, the Ubuntu distro, the Firefox browser, possibly a few Apache servers, the Drupal interface, and down into your computer. That's a wonderful reassuring completed puzzle. People in GNU and Linux often diverge yet their work adds up. The puzzle is very different from the vision Microsoft has of the same process of me talking to you.
However, I wonder how many man-years are lost in making too many GNU/Linux distributions everytime I visit distrowatch.com. That's a way diversity doesn't help us at all (a dozen distros would be enough to stimulate innovation).
I guess no-one has the solution to the problem of superpowers. But getting people to think by themselves a little is surely a good start. (it's a good start for many things actually ;-) ) And surely too building businesses out of Free Culture/Software is the right way to go.

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Oh I see. Indeed, diversity

Oh I see. Indeed, diversity (many make up pieces of a puzzle) versus mono-culture (one or few make all the pieces into one big piece). The ultimate diversity can only help everyone while the ultimate mono-culture is like having a second government fueled by the "consumers" (suckers that suck what's given to them, letting the ruler rule and dictate their destinies). When you get into that huge supermarket, you know everything you buy will benefit this huge supermarket to become even bigger while those little local shops by small people like you get nothing. That's the consequence of globalization at the expense of diversity and competition.

We need globalization based on connecting diversities, not making them all the same.

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