Copyheart: Encouraging People To Copy

from the copying-is-an-act-of-love dept

Occasional Techdirt contributor Nina Paley, who has pointed out some problems with Creative Commons in the past, is pushing an interesting solution: the Copyheart. It's not a huge license or anything like Creative Commons, but just a basic suggestion: where you might normally put a © symbol, instead put a ♥ -- and perhaps an explanation. As she notes:
Instead of
© Copyright 2010 by Author/Artist. All Rights Reserved.
you could write
♥ 2010 by Author/Artist. Copying is an act of love. Please copy.
Who knows if it catches on, but it's a cool idea. Though... my only complaint is that she's using a non-HTML standard heart character -- so I've created a derivative version. While she uses a heart character, in this post I'm just using the HTML version, which is typed out as "♥" and will thus be more compatible with HTML documents and various browsers.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    Lisae Boucher (profile), Dec 9th, 2010 @ 6:19am

    Funny...

    You could call it "Copylove". :-)
    I also like the UPS advertisement that came with the article. It has plenty of hearts too. :-) Don't have much use for UPS, though, but the ad arrived with the proper article.

     

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  2.  
    identicon
    reboog711, Dec 9th, 2010 @ 6:21am

    How do you type it out?

    How do you type it out? Even if I view source all I see is a heart in quotes.

     

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  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 9th, 2010 @ 6:23am

    How about something less hippy. An asterisk implies 'everything goes.'

     

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  4.  
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    halley (profile), Dec 9th, 2010 @ 6:26am

    Type that out as "ampersand h e a r t s ;" which looks like "♥" in HTML or ♥ in the browser.

     

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  5.  
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    Chris Ball (profile), Dec 9th, 2010 @ 6:28am

    Oops

    Your ♥ shows up as an actual heart. And weird things are happening when I preview this comment. I think we've discovered a minor bug in your CMS.

     

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  6.  
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    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Dec 9th, 2010 @ 6:29am

    Re: How do you type it out?

    Press Alt+3 on your number pad. ♥♥♥ Not sure how to do it without a number pad though.

    Here's a list of all the character Codes. Just hit Alt+ the corresponding numbers on the number pad.

     

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  7.  
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    jupiterkansas (profile), Dec 9th, 2010 @ 6:32am

    nice idea, but too cutsie.

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 9th, 2010 @ 6:41am

    Next from the **AA Copyclub

    ♣ 2010 by Author/Artist. Copying is an act of violence. Please don't copy.

     

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  9.  
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    Miles (profile), Dec 9th, 2010 @ 6:46am

    No, thank you.

    I love Nina's attempts at making things different, but this is just another confusing attempt at circumventing copyright issues. An artist can give their stuff away for free all they want but copyright law will always provide them with legal recourse.

    Nice idea but worthless. Fix the law.

    Even a change in the registration process to allow for distribution into the Public Domain is better than nothing.

    Here's what the notice should really look like:
    © 2010 Author/Artist. No Rights Reserved. Copyrights Will Not Be Legally Enforced Under Any Circumstance. Please Copy.

    It may help, but it still doesn't remove the legal recourse option.

    That's the problem. Isn't about time it gets fixed rather than another circumvention attempt?

     

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  10.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Dec 9th, 2010 @ 6:54am

    ALERT!

    "so I've created a derivative version."

    LAWSUIT! She said COPYING is an act of love. Creating derivatives is an act of WAR!!!!!

     

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  11.  
    identicon
    Spoon, Dec 9th, 2010 @ 6:58am

    Gag me

    Awwww....but I think the winking smily would be better. ;-)

     

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  12.  
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    Nick Coghlan (profile), Dec 9th, 2010 @ 7:00am

    CC licenses are complicated for a reason

    Creative Commons licenses are complicated for the protection of the people relying on them.

    Using

     

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  13.  
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    Tor (profile), Dec 9th, 2010 @ 7:04am

    Re: No, thank you.

    Well, I don't think it's meant as a legal license, but more as a way to bring attention to the importance of sharing and that it is as an act that is rewarding to all parties involved - just like the Poetic License (a very nice interpretation of the BSD license) is not meant to be used as a legal tool.

     

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  14.  
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    Qritiqal (profile), Dec 9th, 2010 @ 7:06am

    Re: How do you type it out?

    I guess this just means you don't have a heart.
    ♥♥♥

     

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  15.  
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    Nina Paley (profile), Dec 9th, 2010 @ 7:12am

    Re: No, thank you.

    From copyheart.org:
    We really donít think laws and ďimaginary propertyĒ have any place in peoplesí love or cultural relations. Creating more legally binding licenses and contracts just perpetuates the problem of law Ė a.k.a. state force Ė intruding where it doesnít belong. That ♡copyheart isnít a legally binding license is not a bug Ė itís a feature.

     

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  16.  
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    Nina Paley (profile), Dec 9th, 2010 @ 7:22am

    Copyheart.org

    Please consider reading copyheart.org - it's a very brief manifesto. To address some of the comments here, I'll reproduce the text in full (read the original for active links and illustrations):

    ♡ Copying art is an act of love.
    People copy stuff they like. They donít copy stuff they donít like. The more a work is copied, the more valuable it becomes. Value isnít taken away by fans, it is added by them, every time they copy.

    ♡ Love is not subject to law.
    Although we appreciate and use Free Licenses when appropriate, these arenít solving the problems of copyright restrictions. Instead of trying to educate everyone on the complexities of copyright law, weíd rather make our intentions clear with this simple statement:
    ♡ Copying is an act of love. Please copy.

    ♡ Please copy and share.
    The ♡Copyheart means we WANT you to copy and share. No restrictions. Just like it says: please copy and share.

    Q. Is the ♡Copyheart trademarked?
    A. No. Itís just a statement of intention. Itís effectiveness depends only on how people use it, not on state enforcement. Here are are some other symbols that arenít trademarked, but whose meanings and intentions are widely (if imperfectly) understood:
    ✝ ☪ ✡ ☺ ☮ ♻

    Q.Is the ♡Copyheart legally binding?
    A. Probably not, although you could test it:
    1. Mark your work with the ♡Copyheart message.
    2. Sue someone for copying it.
    3. See what the judge says.
    We really donít think laws and ďimaginary propertyĒ have any place in peoplesí love or cultural relations. Creating more legally binding licenses and contracts just perpetuates the problem of law Ė a.k.a. state force Ė intruding where it doesnít belong. That ♡copyheart isnít a legally binding license is not a bug Ė itís a feature!

    Q. How do I use the ♡?
    A. Use it wherever you would use the ©copyright symbol. Instead of
    © Copyright 2010 by Author/Artist. All Rights Reserved.

    you could write
    ♡2010 by Author/Artist. Copying is an act of love. Please copy.

    or any of these variations:
    ♡2010 by Author/Artist. Copying Art is an act of love. Please copy and share.
    ♡2010 by Author/Artist. Copying Art is an act of love. Love is not subject to law.
    ♡2010 by Author/Artist. Please copy.
    ♡2010 by Author/Artist. Please share.
    ♡2010 by Author/Artist.
    ♡2010 Copying Art is an act of love. Please copy and share.
    ♡2010 Copying is an act of love. Please copy.
    ♡ Copying is an act of love. Please copy.
    ♡ Copying is an act of love. Love is not subject to law.

    You get the idea. Of course you can do anything you want with the ♡Copyheart symbol, and any other symbol. We donít own it. No one does.
    copyheart.org

     

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  17.  
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    fogbugzd (profile), Dec 9th, 2010 @ 7:33am

    Subversive!

    This all sounds very unamerican to me. Joe Lieberman will be calling your isp in the morning.

     

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  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 9th, 2010 @ 7:46am

    @Miles

    "...this is just another confusing attempt at circumventing copyright issues."

    It doesn't confuse me. Speak for yourself.

     

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  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 9th, 2010 @ 7:58am

    In Linux:

    CTRL + SHIFT + u + 2764

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    lordmorgul, Dec 9th, 2010 @ 8:01am

    Re: Re: No, thank you.

    Nice sentiments, but I agree with Miles... the primary issue remains that anyone who DOES copy such a marked document will always still be under the threat of copyright infringement lawsuit. It does not solve a problem at all. It may be useful to bring attention to the problem, but anyone creating content and marking it such is not really doing anyone any favors.

    The law doesn't belong involved with freely distributed works... but it has its hands in there already, so pretending it doesn't is useless.

     

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  21.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 9th, 2010 @ 8:02am

    In Linux:

    CTRL + SHIFT + u + 2661 = ♡
    CTRL + SHIFT + u + 2665 = ♥

     

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  22.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 9th, 2010 @ 8:14am

    Re: Re: Re: No, thank you.

    If you put that on anything you are giving permission to others to copy and share, that is written permission, it may not look serious but that can be argued in court.

     

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  23.  
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    PRMan, Dec 9th, 2010 @ 8:33am

    Re: Copyheart.org

    Hey, you can't just copy that whole article on here... ;-)

     

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  24.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Dec 9th, 2010 @ 8:37am

    Re: Oops

    Your ♥ shows up as an actual heart. And weird things are happening when I preview this comment. I think we've discovered a minor bug in your CMS.

    Hmmmmm. Weird. We'll check it out. That is odd. It worked fine in preview for the post...

     

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  25.  
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    Andrew (profile), Dec 9th, 2010 @ 8:38am

    Re: ALERT!

    Absolutely. And I think that, as Nina Paley has associated herself closely with this idea, she should also sue for infringement of her publicity rights.

     

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  26.  
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    Marcus Carab (profile), Dec 9th, 2010 @ 9:04am

    Re: How do you type it out?

    In HTML:



    That's ampersand-"hearts"-semicolon

     

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  27.  
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    The Mighty Buzzard (profile), Dec 9th, 2010 @ 9:38am

    Re:

    Yeah, the heart is kind of gay. The asterisk is used too often for footnotes already though. How about (U+00A9U+0337) ©̷ instead?

     

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  28.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 9th, 2010 @ 10:05am

    Re: No, thank you.

    "An artist can give their stuff away for free all they want but copyright law will always provide them with legal recourse."

    that's not necessarily true.

    If you make a clear, public statement that you abandon your copyright, then it is abandoned.

    It seems like that *might* be what the copyheart is intended to so, but since it's not very clear, it might not count.

    I mean, does the copyheart mean you can make a derivative work and use it in a commercial for something the artists hates? Not sure.

     

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  29.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 9th, 2010 @ 10:06am

    Re: Re: No, thank you.

    "♡copyheart isnít a legally binding license is not a bug Ė itís a feature."

    She's assuming that it's *not* a legally binding license. I think it probably is, though it's scope might be up for debate.

     

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  30.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 9th, 2010 @ 10:07am

    Re: ALERT!

    This is a legit problem with the idea. Ill-defined licenses/agreements are a recipe for disaster.

     

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  31.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 9th, 2010 @ 10:10am

    This page

    http://home.telepath.com/~hrothgar/alle_psallite.html

    with a "please copy me" notice has been up for years.

     

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  32.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 9th, 2010 @ 10:19am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: No, thank you.

    Exactly.

    It's either a license or, possibly, abandonment of copyright.

     

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  33.  
    icon
    halley (profile), Dec 9th, 2010 @ 10:23am

    Re: Re: Oops

    It works fine in preview, but then the text is updated to include the character, not the html-entity notation. I found that out when the "♥" previewed as "♥" and submitted as "♥".

     

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  34.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 9th, 2010 @ 10:35am

    If you feel so strongly about this then maybe you could work harder to become a billion dollar multi-national coproration so you can lobby the US political class to change the law in your favor.

     

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  35.  
    icon
    Marcus Carab (profile), Dec 9th, 2010 @ 11:00am

    Re:

    ....that's because it's 800-year-old public domain sheet music. Very different situation.

     

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  36.  
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    Miles (profile), Dec 9th, 2010 @ 11:33am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: No, thank you.

    "If you put that on anything you are giving permission to others to copy and share, that is written permission, it may not look serious but that can be argued in court."
    Firstly: this is NOT true! Copyright is applied by law and works no longer require registration to be covered (unless to sue for infringement damages).

    Secondly: note the last two words of your own statement. That's where the problem lies. Unless you have a written contract, in hand, web text doesn't give a free and clear use of copyright works.

    This is why I have a problem with Nina's approach to the issue. I'm not sure where this "love" campaign comes from, but it's completely ridiculous and, quite frankly, insulting to those of us who have spent countless hours and dollars trying to fight the issue on the government front.

    I wish life was as cheery as "love... free... no STDs!", but that's not the world we live in.

    Love is now a copyright protected IP because people have great ideas on who they love.

    Just wait until some corporation patents the chemical configuration which creates those loving feelings.

    Then we'll all really pay.

     

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  37.  
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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Dec 9th, 2010 @ 11:54am

    Re: Funny...

    I'd call it "Culture," but I love what she's doing here.

     

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  38.  
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    Marcus Carab (profile), Dec 9th, 2010 @ 1:11pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: No, thank you.

    Miles is right. If an implied license can be argued in court, no major publisher in any medium will touch it with a ten-foot pole. The last thing they want is it becoming the year's big hit, earning a few million dollars, and THEN attracting a bunch of people who emerge from the woodwork claiming copyright.

     

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  39.  
    identicon
    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Dec 9th, 2010 @ 2:37pm

    Compose Key

    For those platforms that use a compose key, set your locale to a UTF-8 one. Then you can type compose-lessthan-3 to get ♥.

    I think it needs a circle around it to look more like the © symbol. Just the heart on its own doesnít remind anyone of the association with copyright, or the absence thereof.

     

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  40.  
    identicon
    Jose_X, Dec 9th, 2010 @ 3:09pm

    Re: How do you type it out?

    That's odd. We probably aren't using the same software, but I would think you would see it as text, exactly as it is created for a webpage and sent over the Internet into your computer.

    & h e a r t s ; (but without spaces)

     

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  41.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 9th, 2010 @ 3:16pm

    I know, let's create another confusing non-standard standard for open source, copy left, public domain, GPL and such that we can all ignore.

    If you want an alternate to copyright, fight to it in law in a manner that authors and creators can select an internationally recognized way to push something in the public domain. You don't have to have a &heart; to figure that out.

     

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  42.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 9th, 2010 @ 3:52pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: No, thank you.

    Copyright may be "applied by law," whatever that is intended to mean, but it is absolutely true that if the copyright owner gives you written permission to copy, then any lawsuit is going nowhere (and could be sanctionable). That would include somelike like a creative commons license notice or the "copyheart."

    Relying on the "copyheart" could be problematic since it's not entirely clear what it means, but it would likely be legally enforceable to the same extent just about any license would be.

     

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  43.  
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    Marcus Carab (profile), Dec 9th, 2010 @ 4:38pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: No, thank you.

    it is absolutely true that if the copyright owner gives you written permission to copy, then any lawsuit is going nowhere

    You are definitely overstating the matter. Copyright law is so ridiculously intricate that there is ALWAYS something to squabble over, even in extremely thorough contracts. One of the first things that becomes apparent about U.S. copyright law is that nothing is "absolutely true"

     

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  44.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 9th, 2010 @ 4:41pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: No, thank you.

    Ok, you're right that you can alway find something to squabble over. As I stated above, the scope of what "copyheart" actually means is not clear.

    But my point is that something saying "please copy me" is no less legally significant than a 40 page contract.

     

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  45.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 9th, 2010 @ 6:14pm

    Re:

    Why?

    It is much easier to convince other that you are evil and find alternatives that not involve paying you and your pals.

     

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  46.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 9th, 2010 @ 6:33pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: No, thank you.

    "Firstly: this is NOT true! Copyright is applied by law and works no longer require registration to be covered (unless to sue for infringement damages)."

    And because of copyright everyone needs permission from the holder of the copyright, since it is saying right there
    "♡2010 by Author/Artist. Copying Art is an act of love. Please copy and share."

    That would probably be accepted in any court of law as written permission from the copyright holder.

    Courts have accepted oral and written permissions, you just need to prove it that he said or wrote that, that is the hard part, the permission part is straight forward, if you got anything resembling a grant of permission it will be very difficult to claim otherwise later on, judges don't look kindly to that kind of thing.

    But don't trust me go read common law cases to see the history of "permissions" not only in copyright, but patents, real state and any other thing that needs permission.

     

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  47.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 9th, 2010 @ 6:36pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: No, thank you.

    Oh well I think I see where I went wrong.

    "If you put that on anything you produced and own the copyright you are giving permission to others to copy and share, that is written permission, it may not look serious but that can be argued in court."

    Sorry my bad LoL

     

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  48.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 9th, 2010 @ 6:40pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: No, thank you.

    Now that is not true, major players try all the time to claim copyrights on things they don't own that are in the public domain.

    And permission is different from license, if you write down in a piece of paper by hand "I grant you permission to copy and share this work of mine" it is valid in court and enforceable.

    There is nothing "implied" it is written right there "Please copy".

     

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  49.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 9th, 2010 @ 7:08pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: No, thank you.

    Actually, it is. The words "please copy me" are essentially meaningless. They could have been added by a hacker. They could have been added by a disgruntled employee, web host, or any number of other people who might have access to the works. Heck, someone else could copy it, change a copyright notice to a copy me notice, and away you go.

    The "40 page contract" (or a single page) notarized or otherwise appropriately witnessed as per the law would certainly have way more sway than a heart on a bottom of an electronic document.

     

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  50.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 10th, 2010 @ 4:02am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: No, thank you.

    Well if the original creator tried to say he was hacked he would have to prove it in court otherwise the opposing counsel would have a field day with him.

    You know host services have logs, even self hosting must have logs and if they don't show invasion he probably be in a world of trouble.

    Those words are only meaningless if they didn't come from the copyright holder because if it did and somebody can prove it, any legal action from the copyright party owner will end bad.

     

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  51.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 10th, 2010 @ 10:32am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: No, thank you.

    A 40-page contract can be signed by someone without authorization. It could be signed by someone who thinks they own the copyright, but actually doesn't. A GPL notice can be added by someone who doesn't own the copyright.

    I'm not sure what you mean by "appropriately witnesses as per the law."

    My point is that if the copyright owner puts that language out there, it is likely going to be just as binding as something more "formal."

     

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  52.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 10th, 2010 @ 10:33am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: No, thank you.

    "permission is different from license"

    Not really.

     

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  53.  
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    Marcus Carab (profile), Dec 10th, 2010 @ 10:58am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: No, thank you.

    If the state of copyright is unclear, as you admit it is with the copyheart, then no publisher is going to touch your work. It's that simple.

    So while a brief line saying "please copy" might *technically* be as binding as a more detailed contract, it is effectively meaningless, because nobody who actually cares about the copyright status of a work for financial/business reasons will consider that permission adequate.

     

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  54.  
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    Marcus Carab (profile), Dec 10th, 2010 @ 11:01am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: No, thank you.

    "Now that is not true, major players try all the time to claim copyrights on things they don't own that are in the public domain."

    Yes, when it makes financial sense to do so, such as with something that is already hugely popular like "Happy Birthday".

    But try approaching a publisher with your manuscript, or a record label with your demo, when the copyright status is unclear. They aren't about to invest in a new product when there is a fear that someone will show up claiming copyright if it succeeds. This is exactly the situation with orphaned works, which are a well-documented problem in copyright law.

     

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  55.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 13th, 2010 @ 10:54am

    copyheart... that's cute.

     

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  56.  
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    John Alvarado (profile), Dec 13th, 2010 @ 12:53pm

    It is what it is, and I love it!

    Copyheart does not preclude a publisher from seeking an explicit license from the author before using the work. It doesn't have to be a solution to everyone's problem to be useful.

    Any time you copy, you accept some level of risk (even with a signed 40-page legal document). How much risk you can tolerate dictates the kind of license you need. Copyheart lowers the risk sufficiently for most people who would like to copy for personal use and sharing with friends.

    It is not, as some critics have declared, useless (unless you don't use it), confusing (unless you are an IP lawyer), or insulting (unless you woke up feeling intellectually snobby this morning).

    I♥Copyheart.

     

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  57.  
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    Nick Coghlan (profile), Dec 23rd, 2010 @ 4:35pm

    Re:

    More accurately... in Gnome.

    KDE is having a stupid turf war as to whose responsibility it is to provide this feature :P

     

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