[OSM-legal-talk] OSMHQ (Open Street Map High Quality): Viable Alternative For The National Map Corps

Joseph Gentle josephg at gmail.com
Thu Sep 4 13:08:30 BST 2008

On Thu, Sep 4, 2008 at 9:55 PM, Richard Fairhurst <richard at systemed.net>wrote:

> Frederik Ramm wrote:
> > In a way, the whole of civilisation is a derived work, isn't it? Glad
> > our forefathers were liberal enough to not try to attach too many
> > licensing strings to their cultural heritage, otherwise we'd probably
> > have a world not only divided culturally and geographically, but also
> > legally: "Sorry mate, can't talk to you about this, you are descended
> > from a GnuFreeThought tribe and I am BrainCommons, we're not
> compatible..."
> Well, absolutely.
> Copyright used to work - that's the great shame about it all. Last
> night I was listening to some wonderful music by Maurice Durufle
> (that's a tautology - well, apart from the organ Toccata, which I
> can't abide).
> His 1947 Requiem borrows heavily from Gregorian chant (much earlier,
> of course) and is influenced, arguably, by Faure's late C19th Requiem.
> Now the copyright maximalists of the music industry would probably
> have willed it that the copyright never expired on the chant, and that
> Faure's stylistic influence was sufficient that Durufle owed him
> something. So bye-bye to a wonderful piece of music.
> But to me it's a great shame that the Stallmans of this world chose to
> fight fire with fire, not with tolerance. If all these sources and
> influences had been subject to a share-alike licence, Durufle - a
> perfectionist, a reluctant composer, and certainly never a wealthy one
> - would have been deprived of a rare income stream, and faced the
> prospect of his much-sweated-over, enormously refined Requiem being
> revised callously. Which he wouldn't have accepted - so again, bye-bye
> to a wonderful piece of music.
> Before the maximalists got hold of it, we had, I think, the right
> balance for copyright on the composition, on the editions, on the
> performances. There was an understanding that you could, and would,
> donate out of choice if you wanted to: and people did.
> Everything started to go very wrong with the growing power of
> collecting societies and, in particular, the extension to 70 years
> after death. Now copyright (or left, or whatever you want to call it)
> no longer works. And that is, in my view, at least as much the fault
> of Stallman as it is of the RIAA.
> People speak as if Stallman invented the concept of "free software" -
> even, ridiculously, free culture - and that's a nonsense. What he
> invented was a prescriptive legalistic framework and the language of
> obligation rather than choice. There were hundreds of us writing
> public domain software for the 8-bit machines and I suspect very few
> of us had ever heard of GNU, copyleft or anything like that - I
> certainly hadn't. We just gave our stuff away because we wanted to.
> Some of us still do.
> cheers
> Richard
> drifting off the point somewhat

A good rant nonetheless.

I agree completely -- shorten copyright to 5 years or so and I'll support

If a movie / song / book hasn't made a profit within that timespan these
days, it almost certailny never will.

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