A Privilege

2006-11-14

I got to pondering last night about my yet-to-be-written essay "Who's Afraid of the Public Domain?". Advocates of so-called copyright like to think that it is a natural right of the author. But those who have studied the history of copyright know that it was instituted as a government-granted and coercively-enforced privilege in order to prevent competition and to protect the monopolies of publishers and printers. I don't know about you, but I'm not a big fan of governments, monopolies, coercion, or privileges.

To me, even licenses such as the GNU Free Documentation License and the Creative Commons Attribution License are fine as far as they go, but they don't go far enough, since they still recognize the existence of copyright. But if I were to use such a license, I'd use the CC Attribution License (e.g., the JSF uses it for XMPP Extension Protocols); I happen think it's unnecessary since there are other ways to ensure that one's authorship is recognized (hint: publish early and often), but at least it seems to do little real harm.


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