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No, Katie. Just common.

I gave y'all this link when last we spoke. It concerns a bit of copyright reform, namely an idea being tested in the courts that computer software might not be entitled to copyright protection. That's a CNN story, dated December 14th. Which is to say, big news for computer people, with lots of time to disseminate.

So you suppose this might be what CNET was talking about when they asked Bill Gates:

In recent years, there's been a lot of people clamoring to reform and restrict intellectual-property rights. It started out with just a few people, but now there are a bunch of advocates saying, "We've got to look at patents, we've got to look at copyrights." What's driving this, and do you think intellectual-property laws need to be reformed?

More to the point, do you think there was anything else they could possibly have been asking about? Or any other target his response might have addressed?

Wired Magazine would like you to think so.

My favorite line in the article:

Glenn Otis Brown, executive director of Creative Commons, wondered whom Gates was referring to when he made the remarks. Certainly not Creative Commons, which is a "voluntary, market-based approach to copyright," Brown wrote in an e-mail.

See, it reads like "Why is Bill Gates attacking us?" but I think Brown's real question was "Why is Wired Magazine contacting me about this?"

Take a moment for that to sink in -- half of their article is tied in by the statement "we're barking up the wrong tree."

Editorial license will only stretch so far, people...


I've been on the road since putting up that last entry, so if any of you have since posted "Creative Communist" banners for the rest of us to admire in our friends list, just consider yourself smacked down and let's put the matter behind us.


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 11th, 2005 03:07 pm (UTC)
Odd take!
Hmm. You might interpret it that way if you don't continue on to the next paragraph. You seem to have been a bit rushed in reading the article. I guess that's to be expected considering all the travel you've been doing.

"I get sad when people cheapen words like 'communist' or 'fascist' by throwing them around recklessly, especially given what those words meant in the not-so-distant past," Brown wrote. "My father was a CIA Cold Warrior for 35 years of his life; he wasn't fighting against GPL'd software. Stalinist purges, the Berlin Wall, tanks in Budapest -- that's communism. [source] (http://www.wired.com/news/print/0,1294,66209,00.html)

Brown understands why Wired (http://wired.com) contacted him because he really resents his organization being attacked and referred to as communist. (He does, however, seem to be confusing communism and totalitarianism.)

Gates could have said something that invited less ridicule. I mean, he seems to be fairly intelligent, so why did he try to apply an innaccurate label to the Creative Commons licenses (http://creativecommons.org)? They do, after all, offer licenses from “all rights reserved” (full copyright) to “no rights reserved” (public domain).

Cheerio, Damon (http://allolex.net/blog)

PS: In the spirit of full disclosure, I have a CC license on my blog.
Jan. 12th, 2005 02:17 pm (UTC)
No rush. I actually mulled this one over for a day and a half before posting, and re-read the articles several times through.

The quote you're citing furthers the sentiment "It is wrong for us to be attacked in this way", but it doesn't say to me that Brown believes they've actually been attacked. Or rather, that he reached that conclusion on his own. He's responding to Wired's inquery; not the CNET interview.

I mean, look. If you create something and choose to release it to the world without compensation or the usual stringent protections, that's an admirable thing. And it means something because you chose to do so. Creative Commons has not set out to take that choice away from the content creator, but some people have. And those people recently made headlines, where Creative Commons had not.

Are Creative Commons trying to impose their ideals on anyone else?
Not at all.

Are they trying to change the law?
Not that I'm aware of.

Are they calling for copyright reform?
Not specifically.

Does the question asked of Gates, or his response, apply to them?
Brown says no.

...so how is that the central point in an article implying that it does?
Jan. 12th, 2005 04:20 pm (UTC)
Point taken (somewhere in the abdomen)

Now I see your point. I'm still fairly sure that Wired (http://wired.com) talked with Brown because of the “Creative Communist” reaction from a number of people on the internet (http://www.google.com/search?q=creative+communist), but the structure of the article does seem to imply that CC was somehow directly implicated in Gates' accusations. I thought you didn't understand why Wired talked to Brown at all. Mea maxima culpa for not grokking that.

I'll make up for it by playing around with CSS in my post. LiveJournal supports <div>'s <spans>'s.
Jan. 12th, 2005 09:14 pm (UTC)
Wasn't trying to poke that hard. Bandage?
I agree that's why they talked to him. My point was more that they tried to make it look like he had contacted them in response to the quote.

This distinction affects our perception of, among other things, who the rest of Brown's words were directed at -- is he criticizing Bill Gates for using "Communist" to describe those he sees as directly undermining the capitalist system (and say what you will about his software, the man knows a thing or two about capitalism!), or the community at large for making light of the word in their reaction?

Hard to guess, really. Because if Brown was trying to distance his organization from that comparison, his chairman of the board capitalized on it a paragraph later.

I guess this is the quote I should really be focusing on, though:
    The comments show just how out-of-touch Gates is with a large and growing community of people who have embraced the ideas of open source and building on one another's creative works, proponents of copyright reform say.
That's a pretty loaded statement. Everything that follows is about Creative Commons, who as "proponents of copyright reform" are naturally the target of Gates' derision.

Except, they're not.

And really, the whole thing has an "us vs them" tone to it, which is a little disingenuous given that Wired is a commercial publication which takes full advantage of copyright -- this article isn't in the Creative Commons, so what's with the attitude?

The author does get credit for successfully integrating the word "kerfuffle," though. That's worth a few points.


On a side note, and you basically said as much already, folks should really try to disassociate the idea of communism from the people who failed to bring about that socio-economic ideal. It's a plan that's never seen fruition, and putting so much political weight on the word is what cheapens it.
Jan. 13th, 2005 01:02 pm (UTC)
Re: Point taken (somewhere in the abdomen)

Wow, that was really annoying. Remind me not to go overboard like that again.

It also appears I've joined the LJ mafia, at least nominally.
Jan. 13th, 2005 01:16 pm (UTC)
I enjoyed the discussion, and was at least amused by the CSS formatting. Had to stare pretty close to make out a word of what you were saying, but a quick "paste into notepad" fixed that.

LJ Mafia:
Cool -- that means (optional) e-mail notifications when someone replies, and that I won't have to actively unscreen all your comments.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )


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