In the US and around the world, there are an increasing amount of laws, regulations, and mechanisms which restrict a persons ability to access and distribute information. While the entities that control the information would promote these restrictions as necessary and good, some of these restrictions are potentially harmful and should demand reconsideration.
Freedom with the exchange of knowledge an important feature of a fair and advancing society. It allows people to share ideas and learn from others. Freedom of information helps with the advancement of art, science and medicine, by allowing people to build from others work.
The purpose of a copyright as stated in the US Constitution, was "to promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries".
While some have viewed copyrights to be at opposition with the free exchange of knowledge, the key purpose of copyright law is shared with the effect of information freedom: to promote the advancement of society.
There must be a balance between any exclusive information rights, and the eventual free exchange of the knowledge. If the duration of the exclusive information rights is too long, this will encourage suppression and information hoarding which would stifle advancement, and free expression.
The obvious problems with current copyright law are:
|work||Original Written||Original Copyright Expiration||Derrivative Media||Original Derrivative Expiration||Extended Expiration (1976)||Extended Expiration (1998)|
Governments seem to have forgotten why reasonable limits on granted information monopiles are important, and the "owners" of the information monopolies have shown that they can sway governments to impose endless extensions on any limits. This situation leaves many people frustated by the constraints and desiring a more open exchange of ideas. In general, the way to increase the open exchange of ideas under current law, is for authors, scientists and artists specify copyright terms which are designed to encourage more reasonably openness. The biggest example of such open terms today is with "Open Source" or "Free Software". In the case of Open Software, the software copyright terms are such that the work and its derivatives are open for use, derivation, and duplication. While other open copyright terms are possible, such as self limiting the copyright term, the "Open Source"/"Open Content" model has proved successful and is being applied to other industries as well, with the general term "Creative Commons".
Here is a table of existing open content
|Music||Creative Commons (non-commercial)||magnatune.com|
Elements of Abstract and Linear Algebra
Introduction to Probability
A Problem Course in Mathmatical Logic
Light And Matter(several Physics books)
|Medicine||Creative Commons, Attribution||Public Library of Science (Medicine)|
|Biology||Creative Commons, Attribution||Public Library of Science (Biology)|
|Genetics||Creative Commons, Attribution||Public Library of Science (Genetics)|
Don Mahurin - 2006
mail to openright at openright dot org.
If you came to this site looking for open source, please refer to index.openright.org, for some local projects.