I’m not joining the content collective, comrades!
I say that the copyright backlash is beginning; the era of Lessig worship is near an end.
Let’s start our tour here, with Aaron’s tips for authors, No. 5:
Once you’ve recouped the cost of creating the book (and potentially the cost of writing your next one) please donate it to the public domain (i.e. give up your copyright). The copyright system was created only to increase the size of the public domain; please don’t cheat the public by taking more of it than you need.
“Cheat the public”?!? Anil doubted, in a comment here, that such rhetoric is swarming across blogs, but it is. And it raises my dander. Cheat, indeed. This is perverse. If I don’t give you what I own, then I am the thief? No, you are the thief for demanding it.
Next, read the eloquent reply of Jonathan Delacour [via Haiko Hebig]:
I can’t fathom this. People who would be outraged if employers suggested basing salaries on the cost of rent, food, clothing, and utilities, plus a small entertainment allowance, blithely demand that authors work for cost….
This utopian idea that authors should write for love, not money, probably reflects the majority belief that writing a book is no more difficult than baking a cake. Yet I’m reminded of a New Yorker cartoon showing two people at a cocktail party. One says, “I’m writing a novel.” The other replies, “Neither am I.”
Delacour calls the copyright mob “accidental socialists.” That echoes my sentiments, below, that all this clamoring to take copyrights away from their creators (and those to whom those creators sell their rights) is not about the creative commons but creative communism.
Now even Dr. Lawrence Lessig is getting the point. It took Doc to show him what the Eldred copyright case is really about, and that, in a word, is:
Well, duh, professor.
Yes, this is about a creator’s right to own his property and to sell it to whomever he chooses — even a big, evil corporate beastie. And that sale has more value if that corporate entity can make more money from that property for more years. It’s called capitalism.
Copyright is understood to be a form of simple property. The battle in Eldred thus sounded like a battle between pro and anti property views. On that simple scale, it was clear how the majority of the Court would vote. Not because they are conservative, but because they are Americans. We have a (generally proper) property bias in this culture that makes it extremely hard for people to think critically about the most complicated form of property out there