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Copyright or creators’ rights?

Creators don’t need protection from copying. That’s futile.

Copyright or creators’ rights?


Creators don’t need protection from copying. That’s futile. Copying can’t be stopped. Thus copying is no longer a way to exploit the value of creation.

So what do creators need protected? What are their interests?

I’m thinking they need credit for their creations so they can build reputation or relationships they can exploit through many means: speaking for money, for example, or gaining social credit.

Provenance is established through attribution and links. It is enforced not through laws but through norms. (Rather than beheading Fareed Zakaria for not rewriting someone else’s paragraph enough, we’d scold him for not just linking to that someone).

What deserves credit? In copyright, information or an idea can’t be protected, only one’s treatment of it can be. Let’s turn that around. When a contribution of information or a creation of an idea is given credit, then others’ treatment of it is opened up: Anyone can take a piece of data or a notion and remix it, so long as credit is given where credit is due.

Indeed, don’t we in this world -- the Blogger/Twitter/Medium (read: Ev’s) universe -- want our stuff to be shared, carried along on a wave of recommendation, comment, addition, and argument? We just want credit. That’s what needs protection.

So does the right not to be copied evolve into a right to be credited? Does copyright become creditright?

[I was about to start writing this as a blog post when I got Ev’s invitation -- well, I begged for it -- to contribute to Medium. So I wrote it here, enjoying the simplicity of it. Yet I crave comment. So I’ll post a link to this on Twitter. And I’ll ask you to go to Google+ to talk about it. And then I’ll write about it on my blog (writing in my space is a way of assuring credit). And I’ll hope that others discuss this in their spaces, on their blogs or Facebook pages or Tumblr sites, with links back here. An idea is not something that is made once and copied by permission, with payment. An idea is something that floats freely; all it needs is an address to be pointed to in a space in which it doesn’t matter where or how something is created. See Dave Winer on that.

Later: Here’s a blog post that adds more considerations and examples.]