The Electronic Frontier Foundation has celebrated Copyright Week last month with articles on these subjects:
Day 1: Transparency
Copyright policy must be set through a participatory, democratic and transparent process. It should not be decided through back room deals or secret international agreements.This includes wanting more information about the secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Day 2: Building and Defending a Robust Public Domain
The public domain is our cultural commons and a public trust. Copyright policy should seek to promote, and not diminish, this crucial resource.
For nearly two centuries it has been a basic precept that the law lives in the public domain. It’s simple: in a democratic society, people must have an unrestricted right to read and speak their own laws. Full stop.
Of course, that principle means the law can never be subject to copyright restrictions. If any single entity owns a copyright in the law, it can buy, sell or ration the law, and make all sort of rules about when, where, and how we share it. People should never have to pay a fee to review and compare the rules and regulations they must obey, and no private entity should be the gatekeeper to the law.
Day 3: Open Access
The results of publicly funded research should be made freely available to the public online, to be fully used by anyone, anywhere, anytime.
Day 4: You Bought it, You Own It
Copyright policy should foster the freedom to truly own your stuff: to tinker with it, repair it, reuse it, recycle it, read or watch or launch it on any device, lend it, and then give it away (or re-sell it) when you’re done.
Don’t you just hate “buying” a product that in fact you apparently have only leased?
Day 5: Fair Use Rights
For copyright to achieve its purpose of encouraging creativity and innovation, it must preserve and promote ample breathing space for unexpected and innovative uses.
Admittedly, fair use is an intentionally murky concept, but know that even copyrighted material can be used under the right circumstances, and fortunately so.
Day 6: Getting Copyright Right
A free and open Internet is essential infrastructure, fostering speech, activism, new creativity and new business models for artists, authors, musicians and other creators. It must not be sacrificed in the name of copyright enforcement.
I was reminded that last month marked the 30th anniversary of the Sony Corp. v. Universal Studios decision, also known as the Betamax case, which paved the way for such innovations as your beloved DVR.
Innovation is good; unreasonable copyright laws, and enforcement, are not.
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