Posts tagged ‘copyleft’

March 4, 2013

Copyright vs Copyleft

copyright_copyleft

 

The idea of “copyleft” is brought up on multiple occasions, primarily in passing, in The Alternative Media Handbook… but what is it?

According to  http://www.linfo.org/copyleft.html Copyleft is “a type of license that attempts to ensure that the public retains the freedom to use, modify, extend and redistribute a creative work and all derivative works (i.e., works based on or derived from it) rather than to restrict such freedoms.”

What appears to make this such a controversial thing?  Money.  Well, the lack of it that the copyright holders or record companies (or whoever else has a hand in whatever is being used, modified or redistributed) are Not okay with.

There are a few Banksy quotes that come to mind (one of my favorite artists–check out his work or his documentary or even his book…you won’t regret it):

“You owe the companies nothing.  You especially don’t owe them any courtesy.  They have re-arranged the world to put themselves in front of you.  They never asked for your permission, don’t even start asking for theirs.”

“The people who run our cities don’t understand graffiti because they think nothing has the right to exist unless it makes a profit.  The people who truly deface our neighborhoods are the companies that scrawl giant slogans across buildings and buses trying to make us feel inadequate unless we buy their stuff.  Any advertisement in public space that gives you no choice whether you see it or not is yours, it belongs to you, it’s yours to take, rearrange and reuse.  Asking for permission is like asking to keep a rock someone just threw at your head.”

While Banksy is referring to graffiti and how the art is seen as an illegal nuisance, his words can easily be applied to the issues of copyleft.

As brought up in The Alternative Media Handbook on page 65, the operating system Linux has been established under the ideas of copyleft.  The developers of the software actually encourage users to do just that–use the system.  People are encouraged to make changes as they see fit.  It’s a fantastic way to showcase the possibillions (billions of possibilities) of an open source system.  Here, issues of intellectual property don’t come up.

In RiP: A Remix Manifesto, issues of copyright are discussed in detail.  It mainly follows Gregg Gillis, AKA: Girl Talk.  He’s a bio-medical engineer by day, and a criminal by night.  Of course, artist may be a better term for that, but according to copyright laws–criminal.  His musical specialties are mash-ups made from collages of other artists’ music.  If you have the time and the desire, I recommend watching the movie (link above).  It also dives into Disney’s Steamboat Willie character and some…interesting… parodies.  Not to mention just how screwy Disney is in general with copyright.

My personal opinion?  I think copyleft deserves a chance, and all the money-hungry copyright supporters need to reevaluate their laws–most of which are entirely outdated.