Creative commons or creative communism?:

Creative commons or creative communism?
: I’m struck by some of the rhetoric following the Eldred defeat (and, no, I won’t name names or link links so as to avoid an ideological pissfest). All the haughty talk about how copyright holders are stealing what the people own… It sounds like Moscow, 1918, folks. The Internationale is playing on Real Audio. The masses are marching with pitchforks and MP3 players. The armies of the people are massing at Sunset and Vine.

I’m sorry, but I do not object to the concentration of intellectual capital almong its creators and supporters and owners. It is their right. The people do not — the audience does not — own what I think up or my publisher pays to publish or my producer pays to produce; we do. You have to pay for it. It’s only right.

Have we not learned at least that from the Internet thus far: Content that is not valued is valueless.

Yes, the “commons” is a wonderful arena and much can be produced through sharing there and through the generosity of those who create in and for it. I support that commons. But not by force. Contributing to the commons is still the choice of those who do. It is not the right of the consumers to expect that they should own that which they consume without paying for it.

Communism’s dead when it comes to steel or words or pictures or thoughts or sounds.

Devil’s advocate
: I hate to be a contrarian on this, whistling as the long funeral cortege for the Lessig Eldred copyright case passes my way — and I grant my conflict, being an employee of Big Media — but I just have to say that as someone who creates for a living, I do see value in creation and in allowing me and my heirs to retain that value.

If — if, indeed — I ever wrote a successful book, I would want my children and grandchildren to be able to benefit from it the same as they would if I instead put my effort into buying land or a building or a company. My heirs could hold onto those forever; they can hold onto my creative legacy (whatever it is worth) for only a limited time.

Of course, I favor the notion and practice of intellectual property passing into the public domain. But I think it’s wrong to portray copyright holders as thieves. Without generous protection, these creators — and those who underwrite them by publishing and producing them — might as well go into real estate instead.

Legal hubris
: Lessig today:

What the Framers of our constitution did is not enough. We must do more.

Third legal posting in one day
: Jack Balkin, the very smart law guru at Yale, now has a blog. At the blog conference, we all worked on him and apparently, it worked.