Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Script for Copyright Creativity and the Commons

Copyright Creativity and the Commons
Short Course in HUMlab
9:00-12:00 Thursday 12 April 2007

Some Background:

“We cannot, indeed, foresee to what extent the modes of production may be altered, or the productiveness of labour increased, by future extensions of our knowledge of the laws of nature, suggesting new processes of industry of which we have at present no conception. But howsoever we may succeed in making for ourselves more space within the limits set by the constitution of things we know that there must be limits.”
John Stuart Mill (1848)

Copyright is a set of exclusive rights regulating the use of a particular expression of an idea or information. At its most general, it is literally "the right to copy" an original creation. In most cases, these rights are of limited duration. The symbol for copyright is ©, and in some jurisdictions may alternatively be written as either (c) or (C).
Copyright may subsist in a wide range of creative, intellectual, or artistic forms or "works". These include poems, theses, plays, and other literary works, movies, choreographic works (dances, ballets, etc.), musical compositions, audio recordings, paintings, drawings, sculptures, photographs, software, radio and television broadcasts of live and other performances, and, in some jurisdictions, industrial designs. Designs or industrial designs may have separate or overlapping laws applied to them in some jurisdictions. Copyright is one of the laws covered by the umbrella term 'intellectual property'.
Copyright law covers only the form or manner in which ideas or information have been manifested, the "form of material expression". It is not designed or intended to cover the actual idea, concepts, facts, styles, or techniques which may be embodied in or represented by the copyright work. For example, the copyright which subsists in relation to a Mickey Mouse cartoon prohibits unauthorized parties from distributing copies of the cartoon or creating derivative works which copy or mimic Disney's particular anthropomorphic mouse, but does not prohibit the creation of artistic works about anthropomorphic mice in general, so long as they are sufficiently different to not be deemed imitative of the original. In some jurisdictions, copyright law provides scope for satirical or interpretive works which themselves may be copyrighted. Other laws may impose legal restrictions on reproduction or use where copyright does not - such as trademarks and patents.
Copyright laws are standardized through international conventions such as the Berne Convention in some countries and are required by international organizations such as European Union or World Trade Organization from their member states.
From the Wikipedia

Web 2.0 in just under 5 minutes

“Treaty on the Protection of Broadcasting Organizations” emerging from the World Intellectual Property Organization at the UN Internet Governance Forum in Athens Greece
More on the proposed Treaty on the Protection of Broadcasting Organizations

Mining Lobby Silencing Community Comment

Lawrence Lessig

Yochai Benkler, The Wealth of Networks

Basic Structures of International Copyright Regulations and Practices
World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Berne Convention (1996):
Behind Technology: Sampling, Copyleft, Wikipedia, and Transformation of Authorship and Culture in Digital Media by Sachiko Hayashi
A manifesto on WIPO and the future of intellectual property

How can the creative digital individual use the technology available today and still live within the present system of law?

Fair use is a doctrine ONLY in United States copyright law that allows limited use of copyrighted material without requiring permission from the rights holders, such as use for scholarship or review. In Sweden teachers and researchers are allowed to reproduce limited numbers of extracts from a copyrighted work for use only in teaching. Libraries and archives that have three of four examples of a work are allowed to publish descriptions of the work but NOT software. Copyright in Sweden exists up to 70 years after the copyright holder’s death

File sharing:
- not illegal in itself and a technology that is a necessary tool in today’s information economy
- as a tool for dissemination of information P2P protocols are perhaps the most pervasive and flexible yet devised.

The Public Sector (one example): The Library "There are many supporters of strong intellectual property rights today. Media companies and their trade associations view ever increased rights for copyright owners as the best way to maximize their potential revenue. It is somewhat harder, however, to find equally prominent defenders of the other half of the copyright balance, namely the needs of the public to have reasonable legitimate access to copyright material. This can be attributed to some degree to the fact that many advocates of stronger rights for copyright owners have a financial interest in such an outcome. The wider public interest in being able to access this material is more diffuse and usually has no direct economic motive and so is less likely to attract professional advocates. The library sector, however, is proud to view itself as a custodian of the public interest in this regard.”
The Shifted Librarian

Google Books:

Parody Satire Comment and Critique:
An important function of language and democracy is to be able to take the words and expressive forms of others and be able to use them to either comment upon them or to expand ones own understanding.
Language functions as a joining technology. I have to be able to take on the language of others in order to produce my own. Art also functions in a similar way; the student learns (steals) from the master and then produces their own works. Parody and satire are protected under many copyright legislations but not all:

Creative Commons (CC) system of licenses
What are they and how do they work?
Creative Commons is an alternative to traditional copyright, developed by a nonprofit organization of the same name. By default, most original works are protected by copyright, which confers specific rights regarding use and distribution. Creative Commons allows copyright owners to release some of those rights while retaining others, with the goal of increasing access to and sharing of intellectual property.
7 Things You Should Know About Creative Commons

Creative Commons: Share, reuse, and remix — legally.
Creative Commons provides free tools that let authors, scientists, artists, and educators easily mark their creative work with the freedoms they want it to carry. You can use CC to change your copyright terms from "All Rights Reserved" to "Some Rights Reserved."

Remix phenomenon
What is it? How does it work?

“A remix may also refer to a non-linear re-interpretation of a given work or media other than audio. Such as a hybridizing process combining fragments of various works. The process of combining and re-contextualizing will often produce unique results independent of the intentions and vision of the original designer/artist. Thus the concept of a remix can be applied to visual or video arts, and even things farther afield. The disjointed novel House of Leaves has been compared by some to the remix concept.”

We live in a remix culture. Our modes of communication are, to some extent, predetermined by software and interfaces that presuppose a tendency to copy and paste. Musicians' remixes are often released simultaneous to the original track, now, and even the word 'remix' has attached itself to the name of soft drinks, food products, cinematic sequels, and other cultural artifacts. Arguably, this condition has been perpetuated by digital artists, from pioneering DJ's to filmmakers, to net artists.

Tools and examples of creative remixing
Jumpcut video remix

Creative Archive at the BBC

Freesound Project



Internet Archive.

Headline Bandit

Our Lives in the Bush of Disquiet
A dozen remixes (2006) of Brian Eno and David Byrne's My Life in the Bush of Ghosts (1981)

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