My thouts on the GPL approach and why I chose it (none / 0) (#5)
by DontTreadOnMe on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 12:41:18 PM EST
Media can be as derivative as code is, even more so. The reason it is not in our society is because the rights are so tightly locked up, to the point where fans have been forced to take down web pages about an artist, tv show, or movie they like, or have been sued for creating "fan fiction" (which by definition is a derivative work), and so on.
Indeed visual and audio media in many ways lends itself as much or more to "code reuse" than software. Consider the sampling done in Rap music, the incorporation of clips of older films in newer films, the creation of movies based on television series and television series based upon movies, movies based upon cartoons, cartoons based upon movies, and so on. Consider special effects such as the ocean scenes in titanic. Wouldn't it be nice to be able to reuse the code, or even the footage, for other films which require panoramic ocean views (with perhaps a different ship superimposed, or colors changed to show a sea benath an alien sky of another color) without having to recreate the entire effect from scratch?
The practice of locking down media and killing any unauthorized derivative works (which often translates to killing any and all derivative works) impoverishes us as a culture and a society. We have as a result less art, less entertainment, less cross polination of ideas. Worse, every film maker is forced to "reinvent the wheel" (e.g. create all special effects from scratch for each film, etc.) for each project, leading to greater costs, slower release schedules, etc.
A GPL approach is not the ONLY way to go, but it is ONE very GOOD way to go, and the method by which I prefer to license my work.
Why? I am willing to give away my work, for free, for anyone to use (college student or Hollywood mogul alike). However, I insist that any derivative works allow others the same artistic freedoms I have given. I want to enrich the public commons of popular culture and material, and if I allow another to lock up my work in another project I fail to do this. Worse, by allowing, say, Disney to make a movie based upon my work and release it in the traditioal, restricted manner I may well have made it impossible for some else to make a competing movie based upon my work. Indeed, if I wanted to shoot my own movie I could find myself getting sued by Disney for using the same title or the same story, EVEN THOUGH I WROTE IT! FreeBSD style licensing would not protect me from this, nor would it protect others. The GPL-like provisions are necessary, as they preserve this artistic freedom in derivative works, such that if a Disney were to use my work, they could not turn around and sue someone else for making a competing work, or even reusing some of their own footage.
I do not want some college student being sued for copying a film derived from a work I gave away, or worse spending time in jail.
More importantly, I do not want to see my work locked up by another organization, so that a third or fourth party who wishes to make a film, perhaps derived from another film already made based on my work, is prevented from doing so.
I wish to enrich our entire culture and allow others to build upon my ideas and my work, pilfer it for material to their hearts content, and reuse it. All I ask is that they allow others the same privelege.
With the Free Media License's GPL-like qualities this situation cannot arise, and artistic freedom is preserved from generation to generation, such that a derivative product based on a film, stage play, or whatever 15 generations removed from my material remains as free as the original work, providing a wealth of material for others to mine, enhance, or otherwise make use of. Without the GPL-style provisions of the license this would not be the case, and the public commons of material that all are able to use and build upon would be correspondingly impoverished.
Of course, the fact that my work is released under the Free Media License does not prevent you or someone else from releasing their work under a FreeBSD style license, or even into the public domain. Indeed, many chose this approach, and that is there right. However, such an approach offers no protection against a Disney or Time-Warner from taking their work and locking it up into one of their projects later.
I won't get into a GPL vs. BSD flame war with you -- both approaches have proven to be successful and to have their place in the Free Software world and, I suspect, both approaches will also prove successful in the creation of other artistic expressions, and that the choice of licenses will ultimately depend on each artist's values and goals, both as a whole and with respect to the specific project they are licensing.
http://openflick.org - Fighting Copyright with Free Media
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