Some thoughts about Copyright related activism

There has been much controversy about Copyright and file-sharing on the internet during the last decade. Admittedly, the All Rights Reserved statement is incompatible with the nature of communications in the Digital Age and thus a new more flexible content and media licensing scheme is required. A permission system would be the natural solution to the All-Rights-Reserved problem (it could even be extended to Patents, but this is outside the scope of this post). Such a permission system is imposed by Free Software licenses, Creative Commons licenses and others. Although it’s not perfect, it does provide an acceptable and realistic solution for content, media and software publishing in the Digital Era.

Surprisingly though, regardless of the fact that such a permission system has not been fully adopted yet by the industry, there are several activist groups worldwide, which go several steps further suggesting that the current copyright and patent systems should be thrown to the trash bin without second thoughts. OK. But what’s the alternative plan and how can it keep us humans motivated to advance our civilization? I’m afraid a proper alternative plan does not currently exist. It’s all about thoughts and beliefs combined with highly subjective estimates.

I generally try to keep an open mind to any suggested change no matter how radical it might be, but in this particular case I think it is quite moronic to believe that a transition from point A (copyright) to point C (no copyright) without at least trying to go through B (permission system) is possible, without severe negative effects on the technological progress. Such a transition does not make sense. Consequently, fighting for such a transition does not make sense as well.

And when activism does not make sense in terms of serving a greater good, then the only explanation I can give is that such activism is driven by each individual activist’s own benefit. This might be just the fun involved in being different (IMHO the vast majority of activists), public relations driven activism, promotion of services etc. The kind of activism which does not serve the greater good has so many faces.

Nevertheless, the problem still remains. The industry has missed the train of the digital world. So, what can we do about that? In my opinion, the very first thing that needs to be done is that both the industry and all those activist and especially hacktivist groups stop acting like morons. Conflict is not the right solution as it leads with mathematical precision to the end of the internet as we know it today. On the other hand, a permission system seems like a good possible solution for most of the existing problems. Let’s stop being part of the problem. That’s a good start.

Some thoughts about Copyright related activism by George Notaras, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Copyright © 2012 - Some Rights Reserved

About George Notaras

George Notaras is the editor of G-Loaded Journal, a technical blog about Free and Open-Source Software. George is a GNU/Linux enthusiast, a self-taught programmer and system administrator. He strongly believes that "knowledge is power" and has created this web site to share the IT knowledge and experience he has gained over the years with other people. George primarily uses CentOS and Fedora and spends some of his spare time developing open-source software. Follow George on Twitter: @gnotaras

One response on “Some thoughts about Copyright related activism

  1. boxofrox Permalink →

    I generally try to keep an open mind to any suggested change no matter how radical it might be, but in this particular case I think it is quite moronic to believe that a transition from point A (copyright) to point C (no copyright) without at least trying to go through B (permission system) is possible, without severe negative effects on the technological progress.

    And when activism does not make sense in terms of serving a greater good, then the only explanation I can give is that such activism is driven by each individual activist’s own benefit.

    Striking a balance between two extremes is essential to the nature of compromise. I agree whole-heartedly with your sentiment that negative effects prevail (as seen from the other side of the fence) at either extreme.

    As to your explanation, consider that a compromise may not be established equally between opposing camps. Thus each side relies on negotiation strategies to set the compromise closer to their goals. Activists may be willing to meet at B, but not willing to sacrifice ground by starting at B and negotiating a compromise between A and B. Then again, did the activists mention they’d like to meet at B?

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