Copyright and left

13.24.25 - Mark

I create content. I write content, I shoot video, I take photos, I program. I'm not the only one who does this, in some way in some shape, everyone creates something copyrightable. But from there, there's an interesting dichotomy to the content that we create. Society loves the partial Steward Brand quote "Information wants to be free" but sometimes we forget the whole quote:

On the one hand information wants to be expensive, because it's so valuable. The right information in the right place just changes your life. On the other hand, information wants to be free, because the cost of getting it out is getting lower and lower all the time. So you have these two fighting against each other

Yes our information wants to be free, quotes true or false are passed around the internet, videos and music is passed from friend to friend, be it the high tech P2P networks to the sneaker net use of analog cassette taps and xerox copies. But that information is valuable. Hense organizations like RIAA and MPAA passing out lawsuits like Halloween candy and pushes for insane legislation.

As a content creator I'm aware of both sides. I have work I pass out for free, while it is valuable to me, it's a marginal amount, citations are nice, but sometimes a "Hey can I use this" is enough of a nod. Some content I don't even obfuscate or try to lock down. However, I also create work so valuable that dollars are involved. I've sold photos to be printed on tshirts, licences for use in promotional materials, and some sold as art.

Living in these two worlds - free and valuable, I'm aware of potential copyright violations. I've seen my photos used in newspapers credited to someone else, and I've run into situations where my work was used without permission in borderline commercial purposes. Last night however I ran across a youtube video on reusing wooden pallets. As I watched it I knew plenty of photos were being used without citations, without any credit to the projects being documented or the people behind the work. Some were common, some new to me, but right at 2 minutes, I saw one of my own photos from my Pallet wood coffee table.

Now that image both on my blog, and on my flickr account is under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial license so I'm fine with it being used. The video is not commercial, but I'm not sure what I feel about the attribution. My ego isn't really craving the credit. It would like it of course, but it's not critical. Intellectually however, I think it is required. With dozens of photos collected from all over the interwebs, there are countless numbers of projects that people may want to explore further (and in the case of this video, we're talking over 600,000 people), and without credits that's a difficult task.

I honestly haven't decided how I'm going to approach the issue but it's an odd case I haven't had to deal with before.

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Not if but when

23.20.20 - Mark

I release almost all of my content (text, photos, videos) under some form of Creative Commons license or something in the same vein if the receiving party isn't familiar with Creative Commons. I do this for two main reasons. One is that I really like seeing people find uses for the things I create. The second is that I feel that current copyright law is better suited to protecting corporation than it is to protecting creators, all while screwing the general public. Creative Commons lets me allow people to expand on my creations while, at least in a legal sense, protecting the rights I really care about like proper attribution and prohibiting commercial uses.

Except... It doesn't seem to be respected. In the last 6 months, I've seen at least four instances where my stuff was used sans credit. One was honest mistake, but two should know better and the last infringement could be called commercial use (plus it was misattribution, not missing attribution). All of the infringements bug me, but at the same time I would have given the OK to credit-less use in the noncommercial stuff, and probably would have only required correct attribution for the commercial use.

I know I don't want to waste time and make myself into an asshole by putting archaic anti-copying code onto my site, and I don't want to plaster copyright notices all over the place but at the same time I want some sort of credit for the content I've created (which is only fair). Something to think about.

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A BSA the BSA would be proud of

00.46.19 - Mark

I'm going to preface this with the fact that I am a Scout. Eagle rank and I've spent three wonderful summers working at a nearby Boy Scout camp.

I'm also an avid computer user and proudly release works under creative commons because I feel that copyright law in this country and around the world is very horribly corrupted by groups like the MPAA, RIAA, and Business Software Alliance. I regularly use what thouse groups would consider "Piracy Tools" like bittorrent and other peer to peer networks.

The idea of the Boy Scouts of America being used to combat piracy by the MPAA and RIAA absolutely disgusts me.

On the local levels scouting is a wonderful thing. It teaches valuable life skills, helps youth find subjects and hobbies that can lead to careers, and in some areas does a better job of educating kids than public schools. Not to mention giving back to the community.

While I severly disagree with the national scouting organization on matters like allowing "gays" and atheists to participate in scouting I'll live with the fact that it is a private club (by some definitions at least). But allowing industry associations to exploit it for commercial gain is far beyond reason. What's next product endorsements in Salesmanship merit badge and partisan politics in Citizenship in the Nation?

Sometimes scouting actually deserves the bad reputation it has developed in today's culture.

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Small changes

19.57.59 - Mark

Google is a little annoyed with me for the way I was supposedly supporting click fraud and leading to inflation of advertising costs - I guess they haven't looked to see how much money this site is actually drawing from adsense so to appease the google advertising robot gods I had to change some stuff in the templates. Since I was in there mucking about I finally took the time to add a creative common's flag to the main text blog.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5 License.

I've been pretty open about how I treat content on this site, not that there's probably that much that would be suitable for remixing. About the only limit I've placed on the content is the non-commercial use. It's happened (amazingly) and the only thing about commercial use is that I want to know where my content is. I suppose it also ties in to some of my current problems with high school university, and who gets to use and control student works.

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