May 09, 2004

Collaboration and Ownership in the Digital Economy

I was recently given a copy of this booklet which summarised the positions of various speakers at a Cambridge conference produced by the UK Arts Council in 2001.

E.g. Richard Stallman proposes re-categorisation of work into three to determine what is modifiable.

  • Functional works to get a job done (recipes, computer programs (FREELY MODIFIABLE)

  • Works of personal expression that state someone's views (memoirs, scientific papers) (MODIFYING IS FALSIFYING AND WRONG)

  • Works that are aesthetic and entertaining in themselves. (COMPLEX, NO FIRM VIEWS).
  • Having focused on the third camp for the last few years I think it is fascinating how little this view takes into account the blending of forms. What about entertaining memoirs? Film adaptions? Packages of technical documentation and a reader that displays them?

    No having any firmer views on the "right" way to mandate modification laws, I do know what I WANT to do. I want the right to give things away and still earn a living as an artist. I want to be able to produce functional works, works of personal expression and purely aesthetic/entertaining works without controversy. I do not want to be prevented from doing this by stifling bureaucracy and corporate muscle purely because our tastes, values and experience differ.

    The last line of Richard's blurb is the easiest of his sentiments to agree with - "Let's try common-sense." Yet even there I feel compelled to qualify it. Common-sense is not universally accessible. We are human beings after all.

    Posted by .M. at May 9, 2004 04:19 PM | TrackBack
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