Some thoghts on copyrights

Short text on my view on the copyright issue I wrote a year ago.

20 Century has seen accumulation of enormous amounts of knowledge or
information (movies, books, sound records,photos…) like never before
in our history. And like never before we have technical possibilities
to cheaply reproduce those informations and deliver them to end users.
Imagine for a moment how many possible Tesla’s, Einsteins, Da Vinci’s
or Michelangelo’s are there in remote places in Nigeria, Indonesia or
Haiti. And all that is lacking to them is the light of knowledge ,
light that they need to get their creativity flowering into rich
gardens of mind. There are ways to bridge the digital divide (for
example look at a case of a participant in Nigeria ,
Sunday. But technical bridging is just the first part of the job, even more
important and missing part in my opinion is to have content which will
fulfill and will give a real importance to the “bridge”
Many people in EU are not aware of the fact of how much advantage they
have compared to people from developing countries. If you need some
kind of technical information all that you need is to walk to the
nearest library and that is it, the problem is solved. But what should
someone in similar situation and in need of tech information do if he
lives in a rural village in Nigeria where there are no libraries nor
bookstores? And even if there is a bookstore nearby he probably does
not have enough money to purchase it. But he has some access to
Internet, it is not broadband but he can fetch a lot of written words
and perhaps some pictures too. But the tech book is copyrighted. Lets
say the author wrote that same book 30 years ago, and he didn’t
extended the copyright for the next period ( for many possible
reasons) , and in fact today not many people are reading that book,
buying it from bookstores, or even know about it and its author (
probably there are today other, far more advanced techniques, more
fashionable perhaps) . So now we have a situation where neither the
author profits (book is not on the market), nor the publisher or the
society. That end user creative individual can’t improve his efforts to
his own personal development nor can he help to develop his own
community. This is a lose-lose situation.
Our contemporary society is highly complex by its nature and nothing
can simply be black or white. Every observation made through colored
looking glasses will give more or less distorted conclusion.
Totalitarian solutions by themselves are wrong. I think that in this
less than perfect world there is place both for limited array of
copyright and for rich cultural public domain. Processes that are
today in action are leading us to absolute copyright world which is
harmful and wrong. We need a world of limited copyright where everyone
will have their own niche and possibilities of profiting , authors,
publishers, medias, and the readers will heave the possibility of cost
effective information gathering. Basically we need a win-win
situation.
There are interesting working examples of this symbiosis on the
Internet , which are functioning quite good. One of them is the case
of well known Brazilian writer Paulo Coelho
http://piratecoelho.wordpress.com/ who is pirating his own books on
Internet and by doing that actually accelerates his book sales. You
can see him giving interview about his approaches here:
http://en.sevenload.com/videos/bIjFXZD/DLD08-Day1-Creating-universes
His conclusion drawn from facts is that by sharing his books through Internet peer to peer networks he
was able to increase the number of his readers which did increase
number of his book buyers.
The number of technical how-to books is very small. In my local
library we have a limited number of books which are mainly dated from
the 60′ or 70′ of the last century, so such books are almost non
existing. On the other side I can imagine how many hundreds or
thousands books are already written and exist which are in some way
outdated, for example 20 or 30 years old, but which are very valid for
the rest of the wold where such informations are rare and non
existent. But sadly, those books are not available. It has being said that for 90
% of all published books, their respective authors didn’t renew
their copyright, yet they are copyrighted, although probably no one is buying
them or using them anymore ( in the country of origin). They are left
unused , their potential not realized, their knowledge is not
spreading around and they are not helping to develop the world and
resolve its enormous and complex problems (like poverty , hunger,
underdevelopment, unemployment, overpopulation …) as they could.
Their authors are also not having profits from them. Simply they are
an unused resource.
At the end a book ( or any other kind of content) does not exist
without its user, and a book without readers loses its reason of
existence. Unlimited copyright puts too high walls in front of the
reader/user.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s