Saturday, May 12, 2001
what's hot what's not
what is the internet department
We know that the internet is a growing group of computers with files that can be accessed using open standards. What we don't know is where it is going. Here are some folks that are thinking about the internet.
The Internet is Not Television
The genesis of this essay as a letter to an editor of Wired Magazine in which I observed that there were serious errors of fact in their cover story and that the errors had consequences in reinforcing misunderstandings about what the Internet is. Unfortunately, these myths feed into a "common sense" feeling that that the Internet is an extravagance that must be contained. In fact, just the opposite is true. The reason that the Internet has contributed so much to the economy is that it is not like the old way of doing things. Unlike Television, the Internet gives all of us the opportunity to add value.
Copyright and Globalization
I should [begin by explaining why I have refused to allow this Forum to be web cast], in case it wasnít clear fully what the issue is: The software they use for web broadcasting requires the user to download certain software in order to receive the broadcast. That software is not free software. Itís available at zero price but only as an executable, which is a mysterious bunch of numbers. What it does is secret. You canít study it; you canít change it; and you certainly canít publish it in your own modified version. And those are among the freedoms that are essential in the definition of "free software."
Pre-Permission for Virtual Republishing
This was originally published as a printed version in the Educom Review, 32:1 (January/February 1997)
Someone who asks, "How do we keep people from stealing food?" is asking you to consider only his side of the issue, without addressing underlying problems. But it might be sensible to ask another question in reply. If we ask, "How can the people obtain food?", perhaps both problems can be solved together.
That is how I see the issue of copyright in digital media. Those who merely ask, "How do we prevent copyright infringement?" are only asking the first question without addressing the second. There is a hunger for the re-use of media. If we can find a legitimate way to feed this hunger, then perhaps the stealing will not be necessary.
Today's central controversy seems to be the question of how to manage copyright and royalty on the sale of digital content.
The standard question has been, "How do we prevent infringement?" If we re-frame the question as "How can we allow re-use?", the solution may be simpler and more powerful than everyone thinks, with benefits for everyone.
My Pecan Tree
Previously May 11, 2001
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