Re: Web Link Copyright Suit

Charlie Stross (
Wed, 23 Sep 1998 10:32:16 +0100

On Mon, Sep 21, 1998 at 07:15:43PM +0200, den Otter wrote:

> > From: Doug Bailey <>
> >
> Frankly, I think (online) copyright should be abolished, at least
> in the case of non-commercial use; it only serves overpaid lawyers
> anyway.

No, it needs to be _replaced_.

For non-commercial use, the Open Content license is a fairly good option.


Any resolution of the essential problems of copyright needs to bear in mind several points.

  1. How to make arrangements for the recognition and remuneration of developers of new intellectual goods, while handling the essential problem of copyright, which is that the cost of replicating information tends towards zero but the value of the information (and effort required to produce it) does not.
  2. With respect to (1), how to authenticate the origin of a piece of information. (Libraries of record to accept email submissions?)
  3. How to prevent violations of any provisions of (1), without tending to damage the free flow of information within society, which is essential to our continuing development. (Consider the WIPO treaty as an example of throwing out the baby with the bathwater.)
  4. How to deal with the transition to the new system, assuming there is one. (For example, recent copyright treaty changes raised the length of copyright from "life plus fifty" to "life plus seventy"; a considerable amount of out-of-copyright work went back into copyright control, and I know at least one publisher who was seriosly inconvenienced by this.)

If I had an answer to question (1), which is the big chestnut in this fire, I'd be crowing it from the rooftops. Unfortunately I don't, this side of a nanotechnology revolution (which puts the _whole_ economy in the same basket as intellectual property, thus completely changing the ball game we're playing).

Any suggestions?