[d@DCC] Infringing morality
russell at flora.ca
Sun Dec 21 10:26:14 EST 2003
On Fri, 19 Dec 2003, Jason Young wrote:
> > If you are not the copyright holder and are publishing someone elses
> >work without their permission, that is an immoral and antisocial act that
> >should be actively discouraged in a just society. I also happen to
> >believe it is a violation of human rights (UN UDHR article 27b).
> Morality is a double-edged sword which could (and would) be wielded
> as oppressive censorship.
What I am trying to do with this discussion is bring us is a recognition
that there is a difference between what should be considered socially
acceptable, and what is legal. We can then formulate our own ideas
of what we think is acceptable, and think about all the
consequences of that.
I believe that currently certain types of infringement of works against
the interests of the creator is now considered legal by our copyright act,
but I do not believe that this makes committing these acts socially
acceptable. Certain other types of socially acceptable uses of works are
also considered infringement by our copyright act -- things which should
be considered fair dealings.
I believe the copyright act is wrong in these cases, and should be
The other separation is between what is legal and what is enforceable,
or generally whether the seriousness of the crime needs to match the level
of enforcement or punishment. When private not-for-profit communication
of works, which I consider to be socially unacceptable but a minor crime,
receives censorship-levels of enforcement then we have a very serious
> If I had my druthers, I'd take freedom of
> expression over copyright nine times out of ten or more...
What has brought us to the point where we have come to take almost for
granted that these are in conflict with each other? Are we in this
community now fighting against creators' interests because of a third
party that has almost been making fools of the creator community?
I think it is the intermediaries and how they have abused both creators'
and citizens' rights that has made them seem in conflict. I have yet to
be offered adequate evidence of the claimed seriousness or often even harm
(to the creator -- the intermediaries are just middle-men who only have a
purpose when a creator or citizen needs them) of citizen-level
infringement of copyright with modern technology, and yet policy makers
have been operating under a 'chicken little -- sky is falling' attitude.
The whole concept of trusting citizens to do the right thing, and
educating them to internalize a respect for creators, is entirely lost.
The ability to trust is decreasing, but I believe this largely to be the
actions of intermediaries and governments on behalf of these
I believe that with the intermediaries out of the way (legislatively and
otherwise) that citizens would honor creators' rights. I read recently
an article about in economics that I believe was extremely relevant to the
In a former life, when I was a journo, my newspaper tried a stunt in
which a dozen wallets, each containing a five pound note (worth about
$50 or more in today's debased apology for currency) and an owner's
phone number, were deliberately "lost" in strategic places around
Perth to reach a cross-section. Nearly all contacted the "owner" and
learned it was a newspaper experiment and were invited to keep the
fiver and the excellent wallet. The real world is quite different
from the skewed artificial world of economics.
which also references:
A long walk to understanding trust
What I am hoping to do is to build a respect in both the creator and
'user' community for each other. If each listens only to the
intermediaries (creators believing the intermediaries are protecting their
interests, users rejecting the dictates of the intermediaries and taking
things out on the creators) then things can only get worse.
> particularly now that we live in an environment where technology
> blurs the formerly discrete notions of publisher and public.
Does technology do this, or do the intermediaries claim publisher-like
qualities onto the public that doesn't really exist? When there is no
commercial transaction taking place, just the unproven economic *theory*
that certain actions *may* cause less commercial transactions in the
future, does that relate to economic or only moral rights for creators?
Is putting information up on my personal website (not anonymous) in
modern times really that different than reading something out loud?
Regardless of what the law says, what should society consider to be
socially acceptable in regards to creators rights?
> The author is never the beginning of the conversation, why should they
> be the end, artificially?
This part you will have to explain. All creations are derivative works
on things before them -- everyone stands on the shoulders of giants.
Does that mean that there should be no "protection of the moral and
material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic
production of which he is the author." (UN UDHR 27b).
I ask that separately from defining what constitutes moral and material
rights which is a longer conversation, but we may be at the level of
questioning whether such protection of these interests should exist.
Russell McOrmond, Internet Consultant: <http://www.flora.ca/>
Governance software that controls ICT, automates government policy, or
electronically counts votes, shouldn't be bought any more than
politicians should be bought. -- http://www.flora.ca/russell/
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