I’ve written quite a bit here about copyright and control of knowledge through larger entities. One place to start is my “Captive Mind” series. My attempt to publish my own previously published work and to stop institutions from having for perpetuity, control over knowledge.
Finally, some good news on this front. Princeton University has brought down a ruling that forbids their professors to give away copyright of their research to publishers. HORRAH! They are stopping to feed these beasts that cage away knowledge for big money. This is just a sliver of the door opening but it is a start. A start at keeping knowledge accessible and more open. Academic journals, with their monopoly over published academic work, have created a huge wall around information – valuable information. I call it “the captive mind” and we should encourage all professors to demand to keep control over their work and to be able to freely publish and share on the web.
Richard Stallman is one of my heroes. He’s not the most likeable guy but he’s really been a warrior on the issue of free use and copyright. His 4 freedoms apply not just to software (his field, he’s the guy who created GNU and transformed operating systems with an alternative to the proprietary force that is Microsoft). They apply to all forms of knowledge and the way we can be “free” to share and adapt it.
Here, I’ve adapted his 4 freedoms for forms of knowledge: essays, research and print/video lectures.
1. The freedom to read the work or watch that work, for any purpose (freedom 0).
2. The freedom to see and study how the knowledge was assembled, and change it’s form so it becomes what
you “know”. (freedom 1). Access to the work is a precondition for this.
3. The freedom to share so you can help your neighbor (freedom 2).
4. The freedom to distribute copies of your modified works to others (freedom 3). By doing this you can
give the whole community a chance to benefit from your changes. Access to the original work is a
precondition for this.
Here he is at his best. He talks about how the freedoms apply to knowledge. A very valuable use of anyone’s time, to listen to his story and ideas….