Bedrock

2005-11-17

Near the end of a long and important essay entitled Saving the Net (read the whole thing!), Doc Searls urges:

We need to make clear that the Public Domain is the market's underlying geology--a place akin to the ownerless bulk of the Earth--rather than a public preserve in the midst of private holdings. This won't be easy, but it can be done.

I've been planning for quite a while to write a screed in defense of the public domain, but haven't gotten around to it yet. But it's definitely creeping up my list of priorities! Part of my argument will be that both copyright and copyleft are misguided because they assert ownership over ideas, which in this age of Mickey-Mouse copyright extension means that anything over which you assert copy control today will never go into the public domain. So unless you believe in perpetual ownership over ideas, you need to put your work into the public domain right now (or, if you must, in your will). I've started to do that with all of my essays, dictionary entries, music, poems, blog entries, and the (admittedly insignificant) code I've written. I hope my forthcoming essay will help convince others to do the same, because, as Doc points out, the public domain is the bedrock of the 'net.


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