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Copyright as it is defined and understood in the United States is in need of serious overhaul. The notion that any idea is "intellectual property" that should be owned by an author for a century overprotects individuals (or, more often, corporations) at the cost of public discussion and creative freedom. On top of that, copyright is a social mechanism built on the institution of print, in which the production of each copy of an object involved a significant capital investment. Now, only the initial creation of the digital file involves capital investmentafter that, infinite copies can be made for next to nothing. Those strictures in mind, it seems like patent law would be the best model for copyright to follow*; in short, owners would have a certain amount of time to reap their profits from exclusivity (say, 10 years), and after that the text would enter the public domain. Of course, for such an idea to gain much public acceptance, there would need to be a sea change in the way we think of creative and intellectual work.
Creative Commons License
Until that shift comes, however, individuals need to take the initiative to push us toward an open, sharing society. That said, This website is licensed under a Creative Commons License**. Please follow one of the links below to read the details:
Easy to read license
The legalese version
So what does this mean?
This Creative Commons License allows you to reproduce, alter, or copy parts or all of this website as long as: 1) you do not do so for commercial purposes (if you're interested in doing so for commercial purposes, please contact me) and 2) you attribute the stuff you've borrowed to me.
* I am not the first person
to suggest that copyright should work like patents do. In fact, I
know I read such a conversation on Slashdot, but I can't find it.
** The Creative Commons License for this site does not apply to any other previously copyrighted material that appears on this site under Fair Use.