Friday, April 29, 2005

Public domain vs. public perception

A journalist in Boston wrote about an outfit that cuts out the "offensive" parts of DVDs and resells them (link found via ArtsJournal). There are some very thorny legal issues involved here - but I'm not here to talk about modifying the content of things which are obviously covered under current copyright law (and very clearly so - all the filmmakers involved have made films within the last 25 years).

What blew my mind was that the author of the Boston Globe article goes on to make - to me - a completely wacky expansion of the "threat" to intellectual property:

If sanitizers can alter a creative work without the permission of the author, will they be able to redo the Bible? Shakespeare? What, in short, does intellectual property mean anymore?
Are you serious? (I really can't tell.... This quote above may be very out of context...) Has everyone forgotten about Project Gutenberg? Have we been so blinded by the pervasive philosophy that everything is owned (from the ridiculous to the scary) that we have forgotten what "public domain" means? (the link even refers to Shakespeare....)

The good news is that just as software developers are pushing back with open source software, so are artists - and not just DJs, but playwrights like Chuck Mee and even broadcasters like the Beeb.

To be continued.....


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