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AUTHORS

Donna Wentworth
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Ernest Miller
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Elizabeth Rader
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Jason Schultz
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Wendy Seltzer
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Aaron Swartz
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Alan Wexelblat
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About this weblog
Here we'll explore the nexus of legal rulings, Capitol Hill policy-making, technical standards development, and technological innovation that creates -- and will recreate -- the networked world as we know it. Among the topics we'll touch on: intellectual property conflicts, technical architecture and innovation, the evolution of copyright, private vs. public interests in Net policy-making, lobbying and the law, and more.

Disclaimer: the opinions expressed in this weblog are those of the authors and not of their respective institutions.

What Does "Copyfight" Mean?

Copyfight, the Solo Years: April 2002-March 2004

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bk
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In the Pipeline: Don't miss Derek Lowe's excellent commentary on drug discovery and the pharma industry in general at In the Pipeline

Copyfight

« May the Farce Be With You | Main | EBay Wins Another Round »

May 17, 2005


COMMENTS

1. Crosbie Fitch on May 17, 2005 7:09 PM writes...

You do know that the use of the term 'piracy' to describe copyright infringement goes way back to Dickensian times - perhaps even earlier?

Apparently American publishers were past masters:

http://www.americanheritage.com/xml/2004/3/2004_3_dept_innews.xml

Permalink to Comment

2. Dr. wex on May 18, 2005 10:00 AM writes...

No, I hadn't known about the historical use of the term, though I did know that American publishers were pretty uniformly scornful of European copyrights through at least the 19th century. That said, I don't think it's helpful for copyfighters to continue using the word in that way. It's just the wrong image.

Permalink to Comment

3. Crosbie Fitch on May 18, 2005 11:02 AM writes...

Maybe it's like 'gay' or 'queer'?

Perhaps a community can re-appropriate a pejorative term used against it by adopting it and presenting it in a positive light?

Perhaps one can also sequester 'IP' ?

IP now means 'Information Piracy' or 'I, Pirate'.

P2P - Pirate to Pirate?

CC - Copyfighter's Code?

Permalink to Comment

4. Crosbie Fitch on May 18, 2005 11:16 AM writes...

I thought I'd check the entry for Pirate in my dictionary:

"3. A person who reproduces or uses something, as a book, recording, idea, etc., without authority and esp. in contravention of patent or copyright; a plagiarist. Also, a thing reproduced or used this way. E17." NSOED

The E17 means the earliest recorded use for the word in this sense is in a work dated 1600-1629.

FOUR CENTURIES OF PROVENANCE!

Permalink to Comment

5. Branko Collin on May 18, 2005 12:45 PM writes...

"Pirate" was used to describe a publisher (i.e. MPAA, RIAA and their brown-shirted ilk) who appropriated the works of poor hard-working authors.

There has always been something wrong with that notion; it seems to be built on the assumption that works are of their authors. Of course this is not true; works are of the people, and on loan to the authors. Saying that US publishers pirated Dickens' works is hogwash, because there was no law or moral code in the US that stated that these works were property of Dickens. You cannot steal that which is not property.

If however you are willing to concede for the sake of argument that works are property of their respective authors, and that a comparison of copyists with the blood-and-rape robbers of the high seas is not an inappropriate hyperbole, Mark Pesce's use of the word makes sense. He notes that the digital age has provided users with the copying abilities that even publishers did not possess before. Users have in essence become publishers, opening themselves up to the sort of abuse publishers have received in the past.

Whether that is fair is a different issue. Some people find it an important distinction that publisher-pirates make money with their copying actions, whereas filesharer-pirates do not.

Permalink to Comment

6. Crosbie Fitch on May 18, 2005 12:56 PM writes...

Unpublished works belong to their authors.

Published works belong to the people.

This was the natural law before copyright.

It is the natural law after copyright - to which its nemesis, the Internet reverts us.

Permalink to Comment

7. Branko Collin on May 18, 2005 7:23 PM writes...

Crosbie, you're right, I was engaging in some over-the-top hyperbole myself. :-)

Permalink to Comment

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