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Comments from Frankston, Reed, and Friends

Sunday, January 25, 2004

DanB at 2:07 PM [url]:

Changes coming to Creative Commons warranties

According to a post on the Creative Commons weblog, new versions of their licenses are coming out soon. One of the additions is that "Warranties will now be a matter of choice for the licensor. The new licenses will disclaim warranties, but licensors will of course be free to negotiate warranties with licensees who demand them."

This is in response to comments here on SATN and elsewhere that pointed out the difficulties and dangers with passing on warranties. I'm very pleased by this development -- it is helping extend the Creative Commons' work to cover a wider variety of important (and common) situations. Watching this process evolve is fascinating.

An article titled "The Tyranny of Copyright?" in today's New York Times Magazine points out: "There is a growing sense of urgency among the members of the Copy Left. They worry that if they do not raise awareness of what is happening to copyright law, Americans will be stuck forever with the consequences of decisions now being made -- and laws being passed -- in the name of preventing piracy. 'We are at a moment in our history at which the terms of freedom and justice are up for grabs,' Benkler says. He notes that each major innovation in the history of communications -- the printing press, radio, telephone -- was followed by a brief period of openness before the rules of its usage were determined and alternatives eliminated. 'The Internet,' he says, 'is in that space right now.'''

No matter what happens in Congress, Redmond/Cupertino and Hollywood, I think it is important that a whole culture or sub-culture, based in law and the ideals of this country, evolve that works in ways that support the appropriate sharing, borrowing, and reward that have served us so well up until now. We also need to take advantage of the abilities new technologies are giving all of us to use that access to works of others to craft new works that serve our personal needs and add new expression to our culture. This means we need to have media players and distribution systems that allow such activities, and standards of conduct that become taken for granted. As I pointed out at the end of my "Copy Protection Robs the Future" essay, having two classes of "art", such as "high art" and "folk art", is not unknown in this country. Both have large followings. The Creative Commons work is vital to developing a "Commons Art" world even if there is a parallel "Restricted Art" world. Where do you think "real" artists will do their work, and from where will they get their inspiration?

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