Cory Doctorow puts it best source ---------------------------------------------------------- READ THIS FIRST This book is distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 license. That means: You are free: * to Share -- to copy, distribute and transmit the work * to Remix -- to adapt the work Under the following conditions: * Attribution. You must attribute the work in the manner specified by the author or licensor (but not in any way that suggests that they endorse you or your use of the work). * Noncommercial. You may not use this work for commercial purposes. * Share Alike. If you alter, transform, or build upon this work, you may distribute the resulting work only under the same or similar license to this one. * For any reuse or distribution, you must make clear to others the license terms of this work. The best way to do this is with a link http://craphound.com/context * Any of the above conditions can be waived if you get my permission More info here: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/ See the end of this file for the complete legalese. ---------------------------------------------------------- THE COPYRIGHT THING The Creative Commons license at the top of this file probably tipped you off to the fact that I've got some pretty unorthodox views about copyright. Here's what I think of it, in a nutshell: a little goes a long way, and more than that is too much. I like the fact that copyright lets me sell rights to my publishers and film studios and so on. It's nice that they can't just take my stuff without permission and get rich on it without cutting me in for a piece of the action. I'm in a pretty good position when it comes to negotiating with these companies: I've got a great agent and a decade's experience with copyright law and licensing (including a stint as a delegate at WIPO, the UN agency that makes the world's copyright treaties). What's more, there's just not that many of these negotiations -- even if I sell fifty or a hundred different editions of *Context* (which would put it in top millionth of a percentile for reprint essay collections), that's still only a hundred negotiations, which I could just about manage. I *hate* the fact that fans who want to do what readers have always done are expected to play in the same system as all these hotshot agents and lawyers. It's just *stupid* to say that an elementary school classroom should have to talk to a lawyer at a giant global publisher before they put on a play based on one of my books. It's ridiculous to say that people who want to "loan" their electronic copy of my book to a friend need to get a *license* to do so. Loaning books has been around longer than any publisher on Earth, and it's a fine thing. Copyright laws are increasingly passed without democratic debate or scrutiny. In Great Britain, where I live, Parliament has just passed the Digital Economy Act, a complex copyright law that allows corporate giants to disconnect whole families from the Internet if anyone in the house is accused (without proof) of copyright infringement; it also creates a "Great Firewall of Britain" that is used to censor any site that record companies and movie studios don't like. This law was passed without any serious public debate in Parliament, rushed through using a dirty process through which our elected representatives betrayed the public to give a huge, gift-wrapped present to their corporate pals. It gets worse: around the world, rich countries like the US, the EU and Canada have been negotiating a secret copyright treaty called "The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement" (ACTA) and "Trans-Pacific Partnership" (TPP) that have all the problems that the Digital Economy Act had and then some. The plan is to agree to this in secret, without public debate, and then force the world's poorest countries to sign up for it by refusing to allow them to sell goods to rich countries unless the do. In America, the plan is to pass it without Congressional debate, using the executive power of the President. ACTA began under Bush, but the Obama administration has pursued it with great enthusiasm, and presided over the creation of TPP. This is a bipartisan lunacy. So if you're not violating copyright law right now, you will be soon. And the penalties are about to get a lot worse. As someone who relies on copyright to earn my living, this makes me sick. If the big entertainment companies set out to destroy copyright's mission, they couldn't do any better than they're doing now. So, basically, *screw that*. Or, as the singer, Wobbly and union organizer Woody Guthrie so eloquently put it: "This song is Copyrighted in U.S., under Seal of Copyright #154085, for a period of 28 years, and anybody caught singin' it without our permission, will be mighty good friends of ourn, cause we don't give a dern. Publish it. Write it. Sing it. Swing to it. Yodel it. We wrote it, that's all we wanted to do."