[rumori] Re: [plunderphonia] Re: on licensing...

From: Steev Hise (steevATdetritus.net)
Date: Tue Jul 09 2002 - 23:05:30 PDT

on Wed, 10 Jul 2002 iriXx told me:

>steev said:
>> the EFF's Open Audio License is basically doing this.
>yes, i've now had a chance to read it through thoroughly - i was aware
>of its existence before as i've been chatting to the EFF in connection
>with my book, too.
>i think its very thorough, and covers all the aspects which musicians
>need, which as you mentioned differ in places to software developers...
>the only problem i have with it is the name 'Open', because this has
>connotations with the Open Source as opposed to the Free Software
>movement, i'll leave you all to make your own decisions about the two,
>but for me, i am more inclined towards Free Software, because Open
>Source has loopholes which *do* allow the use of the source for
>proprietary means...

Not exactly loopholes, since that implies accident. the thing to
understand about "Open Source" as opposed to "Free Software" is
that it was a concious effort by certain more capitalistic-minded
computer types to distance themselves from Stallman. In order to
have any chance of getting attention from the corporate world,
they had to get away from the idealistic, ethical stance that he
and the FSF have always taken. They had to talk about Open
Software as just plain old pragmatic Good Business.

It's a watering-down, but in the end I think it was a good thing,
because it did give the idea more attention. Linux and other open
software, along with the whole Napster debacle, have really
pushed IP issues into the average person's awareness in the last
few years.

>> the analogy with the GNU license isn't quite perfect, since
>> software has some characteristics that music doesn't share (for
>> example what is the "source code" of music?
>the score, or the original sequencer files?

For some music, but often there is no score or anything else but
the recording itself.

software is basically a set of instructions for making a machine
do a certain task. it would be stretching it to say that about

which is not an argument against copyleft. I just think that the
application of the original FSF idea of copyleft to "Culture" can
only be in a very broad sense. But the similiarities are more
important than the differences...

>a good point though... its not necessary to distribute the source
>code.... while the copyleft analogy holds true, its not possible to use
>the GPL directly for music, some modifications need to be made...
>> there's also the
>> viral nature of the GNU license, which sounds really wonderful
>> for us subversive art types but a lot of people would be worried
>> about).
>actually i think this is essential for it to work - again, it prevents
>your music from being taken and appropriated by someone who might charge
>royalties for it. the essence of copyleft is the hereditary license,
>effectively meaning that if anyone makes use of all or part of your
>work, modified or unmodified, they are required to distribute anything
>they make from your music under the same license. its the only way to
>protect yourself sufficiently from being exploited. the Open Audio
>license also contains this clause.

I disagree that a viral aspect is essential to any "free" or
"open" license, and I wouldn't say it's even the "essence" of
copyleft per se, just one characteristic. Look at the Lesser
GPL, which was created mostly for use with software libraries.
There's many cases where software companies would never touch a
library if it meant that the product they use it in would become
"contaminated". So the FSF made the LGPL, so that programmers who
wanted their code to get re-used on a larger scale and didn't
mind it becoming part of a proprietary product could choose that

Basically I think there's cases in music and other culture where
the same thing will be neccesary. You won't always be able to
convince everyone to go to the utmost extremes. I think there's
room for a multiplicity of various licenses and schemes, just
like in the software world - just look at all the various open
source licenses - the GPL, the LGPL, BSD, Apache, Artistic,
Mozilla, etc etc. They all work in the situations they were
designed for.

>thats right... its too easy to dream on. while Richard M. Stallman might
>seem to be a dreamer, he is also a very clever programmer and, i
>believe, a shrewd businessman with a thorough knowledge of law - much as
>he denies any interest in business, the GPL is a watertight piece of
>licensing, and he's managed to make a living from it quite comfortably -
>which is good to point out to anyone who argues that copylefting their
>work will mean they can't earn a living. in fact, all you are losing is
>royalties - and in our line of rather uncommercial composition, how many
>of us can say they're earnt anything more than a few pennies from
>royalties? even the top 40 musicians dont end up with that much at the
>end of the day (see www.negativland.com/albini.html)
>> similar situation: there's the position that some simple-minded
>> anarchists take that all we need to do is "smash the state."
>> unfortunately if we took away governments and left everything
>> else the same, corporations would eat us all alive.
>yup, thats a good analogy. we need something to put in its place :-).
>> great site. tho i'm suprised you don't have links to the EFF's
>> OAL already. anyway, i'll look forward to yr book. (and if you
>> have any further questions for me let me know).
>thanks so much - yes, im sorry, i meant to get back to you much earlier
>- things got rather busy all of a sudden i'm afraid. but yes, i would
>very much like to talk to you further about your own work and your use
>of copyleft licenses - do you use the OAL yourself?
>i will be linking to the OAL and other Artistic Licenses etc. shortly,
>im afraid the site was completed about 4am one morning and its just a
>case of finding time to add links... if anyone would like to see a link
>up there, feel free to email it to me for consideration :-)
>best wishes


Steev Hise, Nervert
steevATdetritus.net http://detritus.net/steev
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