1. Content
  2. Index
  3. Search
  4. RSS/Subscribe

Crosbie Fitch is a Copyright Abolitionist · Wednesday July 19, 2006 by Crosbie Fitch

Many people have grown so used to copyright over the last few centuries that this privilege seems to be entrenched in the popular consciousness as an author’s inalienable right.

Anyone challenging copyright is therefore immediately perceived as a sociopathic pariah who would commit the ultimate treason against our creative commonwealth by reducing authors’ rights – what precious few they have remaining.

Au contraire

Copyright is not an author’s right, but a publisher’s privilege!

The true right is the author’s right to copy. This right has been forcibly surrendered by the state from the people en masse in order that publishers may sell it back, piecemeal or to each other.

Copyright abolitionists do not want to remove author’s rights, if anything they seek to restore them by re-establishing freedoms that have steadily been eroded over the last century or so.

There are four human rights:

  1. Life
  2. Privacy
  3. Truth
  4. Freedom

Privacy includes the right an individual has to exclusive control over the fruits of their labour, and those of others they’ve received in exchange, whilst they remain within their private possession.

Publication is the deliberate act of transferring ownership of private intellectual property to the public. The modern idea that a publisher continues to own intellectual property even after they’ve published it is a grievous corruption of the concept of ‘publication’.

Copyright was introduced in a bygone era to interfere with publication in the short-sighted attempt to contrive a collective payment in exchange for the published work. Unfortunately, the relatively brief period in which this was supposed to occur has extended from a few years to over a century – effectively, there is only collective payment and no exchange or delivery of the art to the public – a veritable scam, especially as this now unlimited period applies to each copy, not the first publication date. Who keeps original copies after a couple of centuries?

Truth includes the right an author has to be identified as the author of their own work, and not that of another. This effectively gives them the right to have their works’ integrity preserved, i.e. that another’s derivative of their work is not misrepresented as that of the original author even if by implication, context, or omission.

Freedom includes the right any author has to copy or create derivatives of any other author’s work. Abolishing copyright would restore this right.

I am a copyright abolitionist. I am a proponent of free culture. I would see the rights restored to artists that mankind has enjoyed since we first spoke or sketched symbols in the sand.

Without copyright, the only issue is the matter of collective payment. Fortunately the Internet can enable this to occur in days instead of years.

More fortunately still, we don’t even need to wait for copyright to be abolished, we can self publish our work copyleft today and see it instantaneously diffused among our audience – and with no help needed from traditional publishers.

Copyright is dead. Long live the right to copy!



 

About

Contact

Recent Articles

Recent Comments

Topics

Rights

Natural Right

Legal Rights

Life

Equality

Fraternity

Violence

Privacy

Being Privy

Confidentiality

Personal Data

Publication

Truth

Attribution

Authenticity

Moral Rights

Plagiarism

Representation

Veracity

Liberty

Censorship

Disclosure

Freedom of Speech

Freedom vs Liberty

Official Secrets Act

Piracy

Property

Apprehensibility

Facility

Identifiability

Copyright

Copyfarleft

Ineffectiveness

Modulation

Neutralisation

Patent

Software

US Constitution

'exclusive right'

Sanction

Contract

Inalienability

Licensing

NDA

Abolition

GPL

Business

Models

Incorporation

Immortality

No Rights

Regulation

Culture

Miscellany

Links

Principles

Amnesty International

Copyleft (Wikipedia)

Electronic Frontier

Free Culture F'n

Free Culture UK

Free S/w Foundation

Pontification

Against Monopoly

One Small Voice

Open...

P2Pnet

Question Copyright

Paragons

GratisVibes

Jamendo

SourceForge

Wikipedia

Protagonists

Downhill Battle

Publishers vs Public

Proof

Rethinking Copyright

Papers

Against Monopoly

Ecstasy of Influence

Libertarian Case

Post-Copyright

Practitioners

Janet Hawtin

Nina Paley

Rob Myers

Scott Carpenter