Copyright law

Copyright law is a major thorn in the side of creativity. Of course I knew this, and supported the work that “Lawrence Lessig” was doing including the “Eldred case”…Ashcroft, but it wasn’t until I actually needed to _use copyrighted material that I realized just how horribly broken the law is. Several nights this week I’ve spent hours reading about copyright and making sure I have my ducks in a row, and the results are very depressing. Especially bad is that even very old works are automatically renewed. Some of the stuff I might want to use is impossible to find to begin with, so locking it under copyright with no revenue stream going anywhere is a huge disservice to society.

That’s not to say I don’t appreciate that we need protection for our creative works – of course we do – but the retroactive nature of some of the recent copyright extensions means that content is unreachable even long after it has been left to gather dust in the internet byte bin.

Anyway, hopefully this concludes my short series of rants, started last week about the void of good digitized archives of historical documents. This all comes from a podcast or two I am working on. The good news is that today I received permission from a web site to use a small portion of their audio, giving me new hope that given a chance people will usually act sensibly. I am still maneuvering through what is acceptable “fair use” for other sources, but I think I am generally making reasonably defendable decisions.

Unfortunately I made a big mistake in my first podcast, using commercial music. At the time I didn’t think much of it, because I was experimenting, but as I start to podcast more I plan to go back and remix the old show with licensed music. “Magnatune” has done a very smart thing here, allowing use of their music for non-commercial podcasts. I use three tracks from Magnatune on my next podcast to be posted this Friday.

Wrapping this up, I should point out that this weblog has always been licensed under the “Creative Commons Attribute License”… This includes any text, images, or audio I might post, except of course those I include or link to that were not created by me. The license is extremely liberal, allowing pretty much unlimited use as long as I am credited, even for commercial purposes. Enjoy!

Manton Reece @manton