Monday, January 25, 2010

Give a Man a Fish, Make it Illegal to Teach Fishing.

The trend with so-called intellectual property is that the supposed owner has a post-sale entitlement to extort a revenue stream. Give a man a fish, make it illegal to teach fishing". While Russel is writing from the perspective of his observations concerning philanthropy, Russel remarks can be expanded to apply to the content industry as a whole. That is that the content providers: "... are actively involved with making a variety of "teaching" (sharing of knowledge) expensive and/or illegal."

The post by was found via TechDirt. Additionally, for added context on how so-called intellectual property is adversely affecting our educational system through outrageous monetization, see the TechDirt posts: "School Wants To Claim Copyright Over Any Lesson Plans Created By Teachers" and "Professors Claiming Copyright Over Their Lectures". Ultimately, how could students ever use the knowledge that they have been taught should that knowledge be locked behind a copyright paywall?


Sonya said...

I love the title for that article. How are these post-sale charges used though? I can't think of something offhand that fits this idea. Video games and such have downloadable content that are not free, but I don't think that is what you're talking about.
The lectures are ridiculous though. Technically reproducing the words and calling them your own would fall under plagarism, correct? which would make copyrighting the lecture a redundant restriction that only further controls the usefulness of the knowledge.
Also, how could this affect mathematics and physics where people come up with equations (that are therefore more concrete than spoken lecture ideas) and then copyright them? It seems like it would be a colossal hinderance.

Steve R. said...

The reference to post-sale refers to attempts by manufactures or content sellers to assert that they still control how the content is used post-sale by the consumer. For example: No Freedom To Tinker: Arrested For Modding Legally Purchased Game Consoles. Also France Agrees With Spain In Saying Modding Nintendo DS Is Not Illegal.

Additionally, many in the content industry seem to believe that even if you have a legally bought CD that you do NOT have a right to load the content onto an MP3 player. They use the legal fiction that you have merely acquired a license for that one use and if you want to upload it to an MP3 player you have to purchase an additional license.

Plagiarism, is not at issue here. Plagiarism is a clear violation of law. What is at issue is that a law (copyright) that is meant to protect an author from unauthorized copying for a limited period of time is being aggrandized to restrict the rights of others to use that content. Since the objective of going to school is to learn from our teachers, it would seem ludicrous for the teachers to then claim the students "owe" them money for using what they learned. (Using what you have learned (how to fish) in NOT copying.)

One of the most distressing aspect of copyright/patent law are the continued attempts of many to copyright/patent discoveries (equations) in math/physics/biology/etc. See my post Patents - A "Dirty Secret". Also see: Judge Lets Gene Patent Lawsuit Move Forward.