Saturday, November 12, 2005

Lessig on Creative Commons

Lawrence Lessig, the founder of the Creative Commons project, has been writing a great series of weekly emails on the history of CC and the ideas behind it. In particular, he does a great job of explaining why questions of copyright in the digital world are fundamentally different to those in the 'analog' one. I know it's a long quote, but it's a good one - the following is taken from the second email:
If copyright regulates "copies," then while a tiny portion of the uses of culture off the net involves making "copies," every use of culture on the net begins by making a copy. In the physical world, if you read a book, that's an act unregulated by the law of copyright, because in the physical world, reading a book doesn't make a copy. On the Internet, the same act triggers the law of copyright, because to read a book in a digital world is always to make a "copy." Thus, as the world moves online, many of the freedoms (in the sense of life left unregulated by the law of copyright) disappear. Every use of copyrighted content at least presumptively triggers a requirement of permission. The failure to secure permission places a cloud of uncertainty over the legality of the use.

So if you want to know why it is that I have that little silver badge saying 'some rights reserved' on my sidebar, have a read of the articles. Lessig certainly explains the whole concept far better than I ever could. They're all collected here - scroll down to the bottom to start from the beginning.

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