After eight decades, apparently the Happy Birthday song is now in the public domain. It’s only a coincidence that this happened on Claire’s birthday. Really.
a mash-up of (making) music & television
As a self-proclaimed tech-savvy guy, the issue of copyright has always been very complex for me.
On the one hand, I’m a creator of text, images, audio and video, a creator whose content (while it may be neither epic nor worth stealing) is mine and I would like it to stay that way. The idea that someone could grab bits and pieces of something I’ve spawned from whatever wellspring of creativity lurks inside me, and redistribute it without credit or recompense occasionally give me chills. After all, no matter how much we ourselves give away, there is forever a small granule in our hearts that seeks even the smallest payment, even if that is in nothing so much more than a nod of acknowledgement for the effort.
On the other hand, I am a school of the remix. My early dabbling in the electronic artists’ paintbox is littered with countless examples of carefree reconstitution of bytes into abstractly original, but reductively derivative creations. My so-called art was a blossoming reflection of an amateur remix, literal bits and borrowed files into new collections of the same. These exercises sprung forth from blood, sweat and borrowed tears with the single intention of self-education towards the singular goal of some future fortune and fame.
JK Rowling is on Biography: has success gone to her head? Doubtful. The books are very good, and she seems modest enough.
I have been stirring a few ideas around in my head about public licensing and copyright. For those familiar with GNU software public licensing, I am pondering how and if something like that could or should exist for words – text – literature, if you will.
GNU, as I understand it, is based upon the understanding that no one really owns a piece of software distributed under GNU, but rather it exists as an enitity that anyone can use, manipulate, and redistribute, provided they don’t try and take it as their own: it goes back into the pool. Linux is distributed under GNU.
Rowling is rambling: she seems like the type – at least being interviewed – that has a lot to say, and means to say it. I think the folks at AandE probably did more than average editing after they put her in front of a camera. But she does make an interesting if not debatable point: she says no one is going to dictate a single word of what she writes: in other words, she won’t be directly bowing to public pressure on her content. Good for you JK, if you can actually pull it off. But, don’t tell me that nothing you write will be steered through your audience’s reaction to the first four books…
Back to GNU: I don’t know if directly translates. I don’t know if it is possible to take a piece of literature: this paragraph for example, and push it into some sort of realm of public domain: sort of an open words licence (OWL?) that puts text into a broad freely distributable context within the confines of maintaining content. It’s an idea I’m going to play with a little. If nothing more, it is something of an academic pursuit to occupy my thoughts for the weekend.
Chris just called: we’re going to check out Blade 2 tomorrow afternoon, provided we can first find a parking space at Metrotown, and second, get in the theatre. It tends to be a tricky task. After that: Thai? As long as it’s as tasty as the chili I cooked up tonight, I can’t complain.
And.. miracle of miracles: Karin started her own blog. No doubt to rival this one. Will she suceed? Cast your votes now…