Yet Another Book Comes Out Celebrating Copying... But Refuses To Let You Build On It

from the too-bad dept

Just recently, we wrote a review of the book Copycats, and it appears there's already another book (a copy?) coming out that is also talking about copying -- but in a different context. Glyn Moody points us to the news that there a new book, by Marcus Boon, called In Praise of Copying, and to live up to that spirit, Harvard University Press is offering a free PDF download of the book (though, I just tried it and it wouldn't download for me). They've also placed the book under a Creative Commons license, but I'm somewhat disappointed to discover that the specific license is not only non-commercial, but also they've put a "no derivatives" limit on it. That's a bit shameful, honestly. One of the reasons why copying is so prevalent and so important, is the ability for others to build on the work and do more with it. It's too bad that a license like this actually takes away from the book in question, and makes me question the overall premise.


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  •  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 20th, 2010 @ 2:58pm

    I just download the pdf using TOR, maybe is something on your network.

     

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    bob, Oct 20th, 2010 @ 3:35pm

    You won't stop until the artists include the first born

    This is a good lesson for people who try to appease bullies by giving into their demands. The P2P couch potatoes constantly insist that everything be given to them gratis because it's cool and the geezers just don't get how cool it well be. Well, one tenured fool goes along with the plan and what does he get? Scorn. Why he only let people have free copies of the book, he didn't allow them to remix it. And then he didn't allow them to use the text commercially. He's another mean jerk who "just doesn't get it".

    There are good reasons to avoid letting people make derivative works. They could simply tweak a few nasty phrases and then republish it legally. Someone visiting the GNU.ORG site could subtly change the meaning and start polluting the web with documents that might advocate software patents or destroying all churches or anything. That's why the GNU site uses this license, "Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article is permitted in any medium, provided this notice is preserved.".

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Oct 20th, 2010 @ 3:51pm

      Re: You won't stop until the artists include the first born

      So, I'm free to make copies so long as I'm not a dick, got it.

       

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        foobar, Oct 20th, 2010 @ 4:30pm

        Re: Re: You won't stop until the artists include the first born

        Unfortunately that specific license won't allow you to, say, convert it to ePub for people.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Oct 20th, 2010 @ 4:58pm

          Re: Re: Re: You won't stop until the artists include the first born

          This stuff is so confusing!

           

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            Hephaestus (profile), Oct 21st, 2010 @ 6:39am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: You won't stop until the artists include the first born

            Quotes From a Pull Sting Barbie Doll ...

            Math is hard!!!

            I will make a good wife someday!

            And the latest addition ....

            "This stuff is so confusing!"

            ... :)

             

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          Karl (profile), Oct 20th, 2010 @ 5:00pm

          Re: Re: Re: You won't stop until the artists include the first born

          That's actually kind of a good question.

          Certain alterations of a work are so trivial that the resulting work wouldn't even be considered "derivative," but simply a copy of the same work. For example, transcoding a FLAC file to MP3.

          Would creating an ePub version constitute a derivative work, or a copy? Ironically, if it's a copy, it's less restricted in this case.

           

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            Mike Linksvayer (profile), Oct 24th, 2010 @ 12:17pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: You won't stop until the artists include the first born

            BY-NC-ND permits format shifting. The license says:

            "The above rights may be exercised in all media and formats whether now known or hereafter devised. The above rights include the right to make such modifications as are technically necessary to exercise the rights in other media and formats, but otherwise you have no rights to make Adaptations."

            Still, it is unfortunate that the book is under a restrictive license, though nowhere near as unfortunate/restrictive as default copyright, under which a number of other recent books about copying fall (as noted by Felix Pleșoianu in another comment on this post). Perhaps though authors of such books and blogs figure that based on content most people will figure out sooner or later that they're free to help promote their content by reusing it however they want.

             

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      Mike Masnick (profile), Oct 20th, 2010 @ 3:52pm

      Re: You won't stop until the artists include the first born

      The P2P couch potatoes constantly insist that everything be given to them gratis because it's cool and the geezers just don't get how cool it well be.

      How many fallacies in one sentence?

      1. I don't use file sharing programs.

      2. Don't think I'm a "couch potato," though I'm not quite sure what that's in reference to.

      3. Have never insisted that things be given out gratis. Just suggesting that it makes more sense to do so.

      4. Have never suggested that anyone use free because it's "cool," but because there are tremendous advantages to doing so.

      Well, one tenured fool goes along with the plan and what does he get? Scorn.

      No scorn, just questioning. Only scorn I see here is from you -- who seems to consistently show an inability to comprehend what I've said.

      Why he only let people have free copies of the book, he didn't allow them to remix it. And then he didn't allow them to use the text commercially. He's another mean jerk who "just doesn't get it".

      Didn't say he was a mean jerk. Just suggesting that it doesn't fit with his premise. Do you disagree? I don't see any analysis.

      There are good reasons to avoid letting people make derivative works. They could simply tweak a few nasty phrases and then republish it legally.

      I see this laughable claim all the time, and it's so silly that it's about time it died. First of all, who would do that? Seriously. Who would benefit in doing that? Second, even if they did, *SO WHAT*? I mean, it would take all of three seconds for the author to make it clear that the new version was not the official one, and it would destroy the market for the other one. Plus it would destroy the reputation (scarce good) of whoever published that book.

      It's as if you don't think we actually think about this stuff.

      Someone visiting the GNU.ORG site could subtly change the meaning and start polluting the web with documents that might advocate software patents or destroying all churches or anything.

      Huh? Seriously. Huh?!?

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Oct 20th, 2010 @ 4:20pm

        Re: Re: You won't stop until the artists include the first born

        Bob is saying that derivative works destroy churches.

         

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        Ron Rezendes (profile), Oct 20th, 2010 @ 4:38pm

        Re: Re: You won't stop until the artists include the first born

        "It's as if you don't think we actually think about this stuff."

        Let me fix that for you Mike,

        "It's as if you don't think."

         

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        bob, Oct 20th, 2010 @ 5:32pm

        Re: Re: You won't stop until the artists include the first born

        I see this laughable claim all the time, and it's so silly that it's about time it died. First of all, who would do that? Seriously. Who would benefit in doing that?


        It's done all the time for various nefarious reasons. Here's one example:

        " According to officials at The World Bank, its "Cost of Pollution" report was similarly abridged for political reasons; "China's environmental agency insisted that the health statistics be removed from the published version of the report, citing the possible impact on 'social stability'." As a result, one-third of the document was reportedly withheld from publication. "

        http://www.synthesis.cc/2008/07/



        I mean, it would take all of three seconds for the author to make it clear that the new version was not the official one, and it would destroy the market for the other one.


        Really ? Can Google tell the difference between versions on Scribd? Can you tell the difference with a printed version? The author can't send out a DMCA notice because the copy is legit. If the changer is truly nefarious, then the changer might even claim the author is excising embarrassing material. Winston Churchill did it when the world changed.


        " 1902 Churchill (now a new member of Parliament) revised and abridged his text, excising much of the criticism of Kitchener for political reasons. All of the many subsequent editions of The River War are based on this 1902 abridged and revised text."


        http://www.abebooks.com/servlet/BookDetailsPL?bi=2390911490&searchurl=an%3Dwinston%26f e%3Don%26pics%3Don%26sortby%3D17%26tn%3Dthe%2Briver%2Bwar%26x%3D59%26y%3D11


        Wake up. Copyright can help ensure that the information ecology isn't polluted by others. But you're so blind that you can only see it as bad.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Oct 20th, 2010 @ 6:07pm

          Re: Re: Re: You won't stop until the artists include the first born

          Which is why copyright must last for centuries! To prevent pollution!

           

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          Mike Masnick (profile), Oct 21st, 2010 @ 12:08am

          Re: Re: Re: You won't stop until the artists include the first born

          It's done all the time for various nefarious reasons.

          Your examples are all political documents, which have nothing to do with copyright. So, not sure what your point is.

          Besides, you do know that copyright (in the US) at least has nothing to do with moral rights concerning attribution and authorship. Right? I mean you wouldn't be making these accusations from a position of total ignorance, would you?

          Really ? Can Google tell the difference between versions on Scribd?

          Sure can. Because all you need to do is make sure folks are alerted to the legit version, and that will be the one that rises up in Google. And, if you want to have fun, just explain which one is not legit, watch people slam it for being a fake, and see any search on Google highlight that it's fake.

          If the changer is truly nefarious, then the changer might even claim the author is excising embarrassing material. Winston Churchill did it when the world changed.

          A different time in a different world. Try excising info today and see how far you get.

          Do you have any ACTUAL examples that make sense?

          Wake up. Copyright can help ensure that the information ecology isn't polluted by others. But you're so blind that you can only see it as bad.

          Copyright has never been meant for that reason. Abusing copyright because you apparently don't realize other mechanisms will take care of that is no excuse. Ignorance of how markets work is no excuse for depriving people of the tools of free expression.

           

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          Karl (profile), Oct 21st, 2010 @ 5:34am

          Re: Re: Re: You won't stop until the artists include the first born

          If the changer is truly nefarious, then the changer might even claim the author is excising embarrassing material.

          You should really read the Attribution condition. In plain English: any derivative works must be identified as such, and not presented as endorsed by the author, or else you're infringing on copyright.

          That takes care of about half the nasty scenarios you present, all without either the -ND or -NC restrictions.

          Winston Churchill did it when the world changed.

          Since Churchill held the copyright on his own book, no amount of copyright protection could prevent him from doing exactly the same thing today.

          Unless you think he should be allowed to do this, I guess? If so, then I don't know what to say. Taking away public rights just so authors can lie doesn't seem very ethical to me.

           

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        bob, Oct 20th, 2010 @ 6:16pm

        Re: Re: You won't stop until the artists include the first born

        First of all, who would do that? Seriously. Who would benefit in doing that? Second, even if they did, *SO WHAT*? I mean, it would take all of three seconds for the author to make it clear that the new version was not the official one, and it would destroy the market for the other one.



        Oh, sure. The author really has that kind of power. Bruce Springsteen was lucky enough to have copyright on his side when he went after Ronald Reagan for playing his song at political rallies, but did all of that so-called power to control the "official one" really keep Reagan out of office?


        And you seem to assume that the new remixer will willingly remain subordinate. The remix culture asserts that the remixer is just as much an author. So who is the real author and who has any cultural authority?


        Get a clue. This is a real Pandora's box you're talking about opening and it's not clear that the chaos can be contained.

         

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          Mike Masnick (profile), Oct 21st, 2010 @ 12:12am

          Re: Re: Re: You won't stop until the artists include the first born

          Oh, sure. The author really has that kind of power. Bruce Springsteen was lucky enough to have copyright on his side when he went after Ronald Reagan for playing his song at political rallies, but did all of that so-called power to control the "official one" really keep Reagan out of office?

          Wait, what?!? What does Reagan's election or non-election have to do with anything? How the hell does that prove your point?

          Get a clue. This is a real Pandora's box you're talking about opening and it's not clear that the chaos can be contained.

          Ah, the ignorance is astounding. You're correct. But you're missing the point. I'm not the one opening the box. It's opened. And if the chaos can't be contained, why not recognize how it can actually be put to use to everyone's advantage?

          Your problem is you still think that there's some way to contain the chaos in the box that opened a long time ago. And don't hate the chaos. It's the chaos that leads to innovation, culture and economic growth.

           

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          Karl (profile), Oct 21st, 2010 @ 5:45am

          Re: Re: Re: You won't stop until the artists include the first born

          did all of that so-called power to control the "official one" really keep Reagan out of office?

          Let me get this straight. You think Reagan got elected only because he played Bruce Springsteen songs at his rallies?

          The only other interpretation is that anyone who infringes on copyright should be barred from public office.

          Are you insane?

           

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          hxa7241, Oct 21st, 2010 @ 8:57am

          Re: Re: Re: You won't stop until the artists include the first born

          > This is a real Pandora's box you're talking about opening and it's not clear that the chaos can be contained.

          Yes! Crikey: imagine if everyone could *talk* freely to each other -- the mayhem would likely bring down civilisation!

           

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      Chris in Utah (profile), Oct 20th, 2010 @ 6:08pm

      Re: You won't stop until the artists include the first born

      The more I read comments like yours bob and (correct me if I'm wrong) the commonality of them the more I wonder if the 1984's definition of a prole is what i can definitively call these people.

       

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      hxa7241, Oct 21st, 2010 @ 8:42am

      Re: You won't stop until the artists include the first born

      > There are good reasons to avoid letting people make derivative works. . . .

      Those don't really make sense.

      You cannot trust something based on its content, because that is the very thing that is in doubt. You trust it for external reasons: the security of its medium, the social conventions of its conveyance. These have a separate function to copy-restriction and have to be regulated separately.

      Copy-restriction *is not* the proper means of authentication, and *should not* be used to control what other people say.

       

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    Nastybutler77 (profile), Oct 20th, 2010 @ 4:01pm

    Want to see an ironic lawsuit?

    I would like to see someone blatently go ahead and violate the CC license just to see it the publisher or author would have the balls to sue. I'd think it might be hard to get a jury to give you any sympathy when you've titled your book In Praise of Copying but insist on no one copying if they turn a profit.

     

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    Karl (profile), Oct 20th, 2010 @ 4:40pm

    Confused?

    I'm guessing that this is just confusion about how "no derivatives" works.

    I actually licensed my works under a CC-BY-NC-ND licence for a while. I thought that unless it was -ND, commercial derivatives could be made, and/or that non-commercial derivative works could be presented as "endorsed."

    I know now that's not true, and license stuff under a CC-BY-NC-SA license (which, I'm sure, will still draw some jeers).

    On the other hand, the subject matter of my music is not specifically about copying. You'd think that someone who wrote a book praising the value of artistic derivation would know better.

     

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      Karl (profile), Oct 20th, 2010 @ 4:45pm

      Re: Confused?

      ...Actually, a more likely scenario is that a -ND license is the best that Harvard University Press would allow.

       

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      ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Oct 20th, 2010 @ 4:55pm

      Re: Confused?

      "I know now that's not true, and license stuff under a CC-BY-NC-SA license (which, I'm sure, will still draw some jeers)."

      Not jeers, but it is problematic. NC-SA is incompatable with SA.

       

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        Karl (profile), Oct 20th, 2010 @ 5:04pm

        Re: Re: Confused?

        True. But:

        - I can always approve of -SA works on a case-by-case basis.

        - There are far more -NC works than there are -SA works, so it's actually compatible with more CC works. For now.

        Still, I get your point. If it actually becomes an issue, I might reconsider.

         

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 20th, 2010 @ 7:30pm

    The PDF works for me

    I read a little bit of it. It highlights how everything we do is copying. Even those who try to dress counter-culture are following the patterns of others. It gets very philosophical - At one point it delves into Plato's ideas of forms and how everything here is derivative of the world of forms.

    Interesting etymology tidbit from the book - the word copy comes from copia meaning plenty or abundance, as in cornucopia.

     

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    Rekrul, Oct 20th, 2010 @ 10:09pm

    Glyn Moody points us to the news that there a new book, by Marcus Boon, called In Praise of Copying, and to live up to that spirit, Harvard University Press is offering a free PDF download of the book (though, I just tried it and it wouldn't download for me).

    I just checked and it downloaded fine for me. It's only 1MB.

     

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    Felix Pleșoianu, Oct 20th, 2010 @ 11:47pm

    Could be worse

    You know what's worse than a book about copying published under a CC-NC-ND license? A book about sharing that is All Rights Reserved! And there have been several of those lately, as seen here: http://shareable.net/blog/back-to-school-15-shareable-books-for-fall -- talk about hypocrisy.

     

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