A Successor to Copyright?

The Washington Post has published a story on the Creative Commons License. Apparently some even in the recording industry are endorsing the idea, even as they aggressively pursue those they call “pirates.”

I’ve long felt that the notion of intellectual property was obsolete; what I haven’t figured out is how anybody makes any money off the obvious successor: file sharing–legal, as with the Creative Commons license, or otherwise. Creative Commons seems to offer a bit more flexibility than the “all or nothing” approach of copyright.

The idea this article attributes to “Lawrence Lessig, a Stanford University law professor,” is that “art has always been about stealing, recycling and mixing: Vincent Van Gogh and Paul Gauguin were said to borrow from each other’s brushwork. The 1990s hit ‘Clueless’ with Alicia Silverstone was a modern-day adaptation of Jane Austen’s ‘Emma.'” From this, one can infer that a strict enforcement of copyright contributes to artistic stagnation.

    “What we’re doing is not only good for society but it’s good for us and our business because we get our music out,” said Brian Hardgroove, 40, the co-founder of Fine Arts Militia and the band’s bass player.

I may not understand how anybody makes any money off of this, but Cory Doctorow says in the article, “At every turn in history we see this new model of distribution that people say is going to destroy art itself.” It hasn’t happened yet, Doctorow points out.

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