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Who has the right to use, copy, repurpose, remix content, software, writing or other creative
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What do these two have in common? “My Way” (1968, 1978). Covers in music require
permission, called a mechanical license in the industry.
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The White Stripes’ album White Blood Cells had a bass line added by Steve McDonald of Redd
Kross. Permission was verbally granted by Jack White when Steve ran into him _after_
creating the work. The new album was removed after more than 60K downloads.
"In many ways, this online-only album lives up to the dream
that music fans originally had for the internet. It is an
example not just of a musician delivering work directly to
his fans, but also of performers bending the rules for the
sake of art."
-- Neil Strauss, The New York Times
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Regarding the release of Redd Blood Cells
Thursday, October 1, 2009 7
Most software, music and other content created so far has been proprietary. Owned by a
company and licensed to you when you “buy” it. You don’t really buy it! You license it.
Thursday, October 1, 2009 9
Copyright law changed in the US in 1978 to automatically copyright everything created.
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Some software and content enters the public domain - we all own it. This can happen
because someone gives it away without restriction, or after a period of time has passed after
an author’s death.
The Spectrum of Greed
Public domain Copyright
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Thursday, October 1, 2009 13
Is there a middle ground?
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The Web - a triumph of open standards. Open standards allow proprietary software to be
written so that it will interact with others.
"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the
unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to
himself. Therefore all progress depends on the
unreasonable man. "
-- George Bernard Shaw
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How is progress made? In trying to deﬁne a middle ground, we can start here.
"People said I should accept the world.
Bullshit! I don't accept the world."
-- Richard Stallman
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We’ll meet Richard in a few minutes.
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To deﬁne the middle ground, we need a contract.
Get it in writing
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If we can write down what we want to do, we can ﬁgure out a legal way of doing it. Licenses
do just that.
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"Every nonfree program has a lord, a master and if you use the program, he is your master."
“Copying all or parts of a program is as natural to a programmer as breathing, and as
productive. It ought to be as free.”
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Two types of freedom. Free as in beer...
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...or free as in speech.
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The GNU General Public License: What is free must stay free. Free as in freedom (speech),
probably also free as in beer.
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Stallman was followed by Tim Berners-Lee (Web), Eric Raymond (Open Source Initiative,
Cathedral and the Bazaar), Linus Torvalds (Linux), Lawrence Lessig (Creative Commons) and
many, many others.
1976 1983 1986 1991 1994 1998 2001
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ITU X.25 standard (1976), GNU (1983), FSF (1985), IETF (1986), Linux (1991), W3C (1994),
OSI (1998), Creative Commons (2001)
Movement from Open Standards to Open Source to Open Content
The Spectrum of Greed
Richard Stallman David Hyland-Wood Bill Gates
Public domain Eric Raymond Larry Lessig Copyright
Thursday, October 1, 2009 25
Open Source/Content ≠ public domain! It is licensed and users must comply with the
The information economy accounts for
~10% of the GDP of most developed nations, and
more than 50% of their economic growth.
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Thursday, October 1, 2009 30
FLOSS *usage* survey; use more popular in the EU than the US.
NB: Copyrighted material used for didactic purposes under fair use provisions.
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ccmixter.org - a Creative Commons sponsored site to expose CC-licensed music for
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Movies: 74K, Audio: 303K, books: 37K and 266K “other”.
Also iTunes U, MIT Open Courseware, etc.
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What should you do?
• Only use, reuse, remix work that you have
• License your work!
• Avoid situations like CourseHero - or at
least give yourself the legal rights to ﬁx any
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How can you participate? License your tweets! (music, plays, novels, software, movies...)
Credits - CC Licensed
http://www.ﬂickr.com/photos/poper/179970823/ and http://www.ﬂickr.com/photos/iguanajo/
Roman bust http://www.ﬂickr.com/photos/angerboy/532691310/
Bill of Rights http://www.ﬂickr.com/photos/anselor/67025021/in/set-1457202/
Copyright extensions http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Copyright_term.svg
GNU Logo http://johnbokma.com/gnulogo.html
Mapa Open Source 2009 (Red Hat) http://www.ﬂickr.com/photos/arrayexception/3500434664/sizes/o/
Eric Raymond http://www.ﬂickr.com/photos/docsearls/224766598/
Tim Berners-Lee http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Tim_Berners-Lee.jpg
Linus Torvalds http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Linus_Torvalds.jpeg
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Credits - CC Licensed
Lawrence Lessig http://www.lessig.org/info/photos/
Open Source Initiative logo http://www.ﬂickr.com/photos/27316226@N02/3000888100/sizes/o/
Street crowd http://www.ﬂickr.com/photos/rayan_jeroen/207239822/
Wii Play packaging http://www.ﬂickr.com/photos/20179579@N00/461808859/
Creative Commons options http://www.lessig.org/blog/archives/freedoms_license.jpg
Creative Commons logo http://www.ﬂickr.com/photos/10243775@N05/3482370143/
FLOSS used in MS Windows http://www.ﬂickr.com/photos/martinbekkelund/2397647179/sizes/l/
GPL street sign http://www.ﬂickr.com/photos/svensson/45394401/
License your tweets? http://za.creativecommons.org/blog/archives/2009/09/13/cc-license-your-tweets/
GNU and FLOSS differences http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/open-source-misses-the-point.html
Open Content examples http://www.archive.org/details/opensource_movies
Open Course logo http://www.ﬂickr.com/photos/marcwathieu/2412755417/
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Credits - Fair Use of Copyright
White Blood Cells album cover by The White Stripes http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:The_White_Stripes_-_White_Blood_Cells.jpg
Redd Blood Cells album cover by Stephen Banes http://www.reddkross.com/features/RBC/
Nine Inch Nails Web page for Ghosts I-IV http://ghosts.nin.com/main/home
ITU logo http://www.itu.int/PublishingImages/logos/ITU-ofﬁcial-logo_75.gif
Credits - By Permission
Linux logo by Larry Ewing <email@example.com>
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The Open Triumvirate
University of Mary Washington
6 October 2009
Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.
Thursday, October 1, 2009 45