Copyright as it is
defined and understood in the United States is in need of serious
overhaul. The notion that any idea is "intellectual property"
that should be owned by an author for a century overprotects
individuals (or, more often, corporations) at the cost of public
discussion and creative freedom. On top of that, copyright is a
social mechanism built on the institution of print, in
which the production of each copy of an object involved a
significant capital investment. Now, only the initial creation of
the digital file involves capital investmentafter that,
infinite copies can be made for next to nothing. Those strictures
in mind, it seems like patent law would be the best model for
copyright to follow*; in short, owners
would have a certain amount of time to reap their profits from
exclusivity (say, 10 years), and after that the text would enter
the public domain. Of course, for such an idea to gain much
public acceptance, there would need to be a sea change in the way
we think of creative and intellectual work.
Creative Commons License
Until that shift comes, however, individuals need to take the
initiative to push us toward an open, sharing society. That said,
This website is licensed under a Creative Commons License**. Please
follow one of the links below to read the details:
Easy to read license
The legalese version
So what does this mean?
This Creative Commons
License allows you to reproduce, alter, or copy parts or all of this
website as long as: 1) you do not do so for commercial purposes (if
you're interested in doing so for commercial purposes, please contact
me) and 2) you attribute the stuff you've
borrowed to me.
* I am not the first person
to suggest that copyright should work like patents do. In fact, I
know I read such a conversation on Slashdot, but I can't find it.
** The Creative Commons License for this
site does not apply to any other previously copyrighted material that
appears on this site under Fair Use.