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Donna Wentworth
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Ernest Miller
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Elizabeth Rader
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Wendy Seltzer
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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.

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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

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July 20, 2005

The Upside of Misunderstanding

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Posted by

One of the positive things about people writing badly misinformed articles like this one by John Dvorak is that the fisking process can often be educational, and in ways you don't necessarily anticipate. If you haven't read it yet, Dvorak calls Creative Commons licensing "seriously dumb. Eye-rolling dumb on the same scale as believing the Emperor is wearing fabulous new clothes." He then proceeds to demonstrate a profound misunderstanding of both Creative Commons and copyright law in general.

Joe Gratz yesterday responded with an excellent point-by-point rebuttal that patiently tackles each misconception in turn. It's worth reading in its entirety, even for people who know this territory like the back of their hand. And today at Crooked Timber, John Quiggan manages to push the discussion well beyond how-to-deal-with-professional-trolls territory (The Creative Commons as a Default Rule):


I've chosen the non-commercial, attribution, share-alike version of the Creative Commons License for my blog. This says that anyone can reproduce my work from the blog, with attribution and for non-commercial purposes, as long as they share it under the same conditions[1].

I've chosen this, not because it's necessarily the best option in all, or even most cases, but because it's the best default rule. ...The general idea of a default value is familiar to anyone who’s done any computer programming and I imagine that if things were put to Dvorak in this way he'd see the point. ...

The idea of a default rule clarifies what is going on here. You can only have one default. At one time this was public domain (since it was necessary to make a specific claim for copyright). Now it's copyright, and advocates of strong IP take this as normal and natural. But if you want to use GPL or CC material with a share-alike license you have to adopt this default. From the viewpoint of people who take copyright as natural, but see CC material expanding, this is like a virus.


It's clear from the article that John Dvorak doesn't really want to understand Creative Commons licensing (the better to troll you with, my dear!). It's nice to see that by publicly professing his ignorance, he's nevertheless helping other people understand it.

(Thanks to Seth Finkelstein for the pointer!)

Comments (2) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: IP Use


COMMENTS

1. Brad Hutchings on July 22, 2005 1:09 AM writes...

Yeah, Dvorak fires a water pistol, but Orlowski drops the MOAB. This article is a 10 count indictment of the Creative Commons in particular and the Copyfight in general. Anyone care to do the truly ironic thing and fisk it?

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2. Imran Anwar on July 27, 2005 6:28 PM writes...

While there was about 10% logic in John Dvorak's column that you so rightly take to task, as always it was misplaced and the other 90% of his stuff was intellectual flailing trying to come up with a column that would garner him some attention. What a Dork. Thanks for pointing out his idiocy to readers.

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