Sunday, October 28, 2007

More from IPI

After my post from just a few minutes ago, I read with interest a blog posting by Tom Giovanetti, president of IPI, where he discusses Venezuela removing intellectual property restrictions from their constitution and the rejoicing that is sure to follow from the copyleft camp. He thus mischaracterizes the copyleft movement as desiring to do away with IP protections altogether. I attempted to leave a comment on his blog, but it either got lost in the great bit bucket in the sky or is waiting for moderator approval to become public. Either way, the following is my comment to President Giovanetti, as closely as I could reproduce it from memory and remnants in my clipboard:

Your headline and comments about the copyleft folks being excited about the removal of IP protections in the Venezuela constitution display a surprising lack of understanding of the copyleft movement. Licenses like GFDL and CreativeCommons work within the currently broken copyright system to allow people to more freely share materials with others, of their own free will.

You mischaracterize Larry Lessig as promoting less-than-democratic policies. You point to countries with political and economic problems that happen to also not respect IP laws in a straw man attack that unfortunately adds to overall misunderstanding of the complicated issues at stake. I might suggest (if you have not done so already) reading Larry's book Free Culture and then making a more accurate statement on his position regarding Intellectual Property.

You might defend yourself by pointing to Richard Stallman attending a meeting with Hugo Chavez, and I don't doubt he has said something you could construe as his support of the removal of IP protection, given his outspoken activist nature. However, he has stated that he believes authors should be able to charge for their works in order to make a living if they so desire, and that a copyright system could help them do so.

sillygwailo (from Flickr)

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