The Free Stream

2006-07-28

One of my two favorite talks at OSCON was by Karl Fogel -- The (Surprising) History of Copyright, and What It Means for Open Source. The conclusions that Karl has reached based on his research into the history of copyright comport with mine: that copyright is a mechanism for retricting access to information (it grew out of early attempts at privatizing government censorship) and that it is utterly out of place on the Internet. Karl runs QuestionCopyright.org and has written cogently, even beautifully, on The Promise of a Post-Copyright World. Unfortunately, the myths about copyright are so prevalent and so deeply ingrained that it will take many years to dispel them, despite the emergence of what Karl calls a "free stream" of works that have been released by their creators without effective copyright control. Hearing Karl speak and chatting with him afterwards have inspired me to finally start writing my long-promised essay entitled "Who's Afraid of the Public Domain?" -- so I intend to have a draft of that available before too much longer...


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