Free Culture

liquid culture: CC flawed? That argument is secondary

liquid culture: CC flawed? That argument is secondary

There is a type of criticism against Creative Commons which has grown quite prominent within the copyleft recently. The main tenet in this line of argumentation seems to be that CC through its reliance on the existing copyright regime actually reinforces copyright. For example, Crosbie Fitch recently examplified this stance […]

I don’t find the “CC enhance copyright argument” convincing in it’s purest form, but it does presuppose copyright, so when I was talking about CC in copyright-free Belgrade I felt like a bit of a Useful Idiot for copyright.

And people do tend to regard CC licenses as a complete expression (neccessary and sufficient) of freedom. Some open source developers and MySpace commentators have regarded CC as a kind of negative Broadcast Flag; a sign of permission that means no permission is  there if it is absent. CC also trains people to look for permission, where possibly we should be fighting for Fair Use. So this isn’t an open and cut case.

CC licenses are meant, like the GPL, to be a judo-throw using copyright law’s weight against itself. They may affect perception of copyright, but unless their use is formalized they do not in themselves strengthen it. This is a serious risk though, and it must be borne in mind and tackled.

One reply on “liquid culture: CC flawed? That argument is secondary”

Here’s an early draft of my comment that I submitted to that chappie’s blog – that is presumably awaiting moderation at this time…
* * *
Believe it or not, I am actually a champion of the artist’s rights – and we are all artists.
Our rights as artists are: freedom of expression, freedom to enjoy, share and build upon published culture, the preservation of truth in attribution and representation, respect for individual privacy.
This wickedly named ticket called ‘copyright’ the government granted to each artist gives them only an impotent scrap of paper, but it is highly coveted by those who are able to wield its power when it comes alive in their hands. I am talking about rich and powerful publishers, the unique entities on this planet able to utilise copyright to enforce their monopoly amongst those of their own kind.
Copyright is not a weapon that artist can use against artist – all such use requires a publisher to which each artist’s copyright has been assigned.
If, as an artist, you self-publish realising that the Internet provides all the reproduction, distribution and promotional facilities you could possibly require, then why surrender everything to a publisher in exchange for an advance that 99 times out of a 100 is a loan that must be repaid?
What possible reason could an artist have for demanding the suspension of the liberty of their fellow artists to freely distribute or build upon the art they’ve built upon in turn?
Remember that copyright was never intended to abrograte the liberty of the masses – it was introduced to permit each of a few publishers to enjoy a monopoly for a limited time. It might have been forgivable to restrain the liberty of a few publishers, but when the people are publishers it is historical revisionism to propose that copyright justly grants each artist unlimited restraint over the public.
Publishers are redundant on the Internet. Copyright for digital art is an anachronism.
The measures of last resort for publishers are to lash out with fines to random families as an educational deterrent to the public, and to encourage the public to adopt copyright as their own birthright, and consequently respect the only copyrights that matter – those assigned to the publishers.
The GPL is an ethical and emancipating license that nullifies copyright by explicitly restoring the liberties it otherwise suspends.
CC licenses simply provide a pick & mix variety pack to kid each artist that copyright is a great gift that they can use to selectively grant liberties to their fellow men. CC provides no guidance as to how to truly create a ‘creative commons’. There is no recommendation for CC-SA.
This is why Stallman rejects Creative Commons. It is not conducive to free culture.
Encouraging people to exercise freedom of choice in how they restrict their fellow men is to corrupt the meaning of freedom, and commit a crime against ethics.

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