Protect Your Right to Create
Imagine a world in which creators are prohibited from drawing on the past; in which innovation is stifled by laws benefiting solely major corporations; in which the very culture of society is owned and off-limits to innovative citizens.
Today we are witnessing the transformation of our traditionally free culture, established and guaranteed in our Constitution, to a Ã¯Â¿Â½permission culture,Ã¯Â¿Â½ as described above.
Threats to our freedom
In the past 50 years, Congress has voted to extend the duration of copyright 11 times, changed our system of regulation from opt-in to automatic, made renewals mandatory, and outlawed even discussion of circumventing copyright protection. Works created today will remain under exclusive control until the 22nd century before passing into the public domain.
But a rich and extensive public domain is crucial for creativity. Without such a free body to draw from, creators and artists are handicapped in their ability to produce new culture.
Works not in the public domain cannot be copied, altered, or built upon without the explicit permission of the copyright holder. But receiving such permission, even for non-commercial works, is not only tedious it is sometimes impossible. Today technology allows a filmmaker to create a documentary for a mere $288, but law requires he spend an additional $430,000 clearing copyrights.
This does not have to be our future.
www.free-culture.cc - The book (available for free online) by Stanford professor of law Lawrence Lessig
www.freeculture.org - An international student movement for free culture
www.creativecommons.org - Free legal tools to help you build your own copyright
www.eff.org The Electronic Frontier Foundation, for protecting digital rights