Copyright vs Copyleft
September 3, 2005 1:37 PM   Subscribe

Second year law student wants to write a paper about alternatives to traditional copyright, i.e. copyleft, creative commons.

I'm a 'lefty' type of person but am otherwise ignorant about conventional copyright law. To educate myself on what I percieve in my limited knowledge as a strong and viable alternative I have decided to write a paper on the topic in lieu of taking a final.

The paper will be 20-30 pages and I have discretion to choose the topic and thesis. My goal here, with this post, is to take suggestions for resources, suggestions, case law, etc. to help me get off my feet and put together a decent proposal (2-3 pages only) by Tuesday night.

Anything offered is appreciated!
posted by whatitis to Law & Government (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Without having taken a copyright class? This does not sound like a good academic decision to me.

Nevertheless, if you are committed to this, copyright law is steeped in policy, and without a formal copyright background you had better focus on the policy, rather than the arcane subtleties of the law that are used in the day-to-day battle. Copyright exclusivity is a quid pro quo exchange for the creator's creative contribution to society. How has this been subverted in modern life? The fundamental idea is that by offering this limited monopoly you will encourage the creative offering of the artist or other creator. Where has this gone wrong.
posted by caddis at 2:09 PM on September 3, 2005

Hopefully, you will use "?" instead of "." where appropriate, unlike some other posters in this thread.
posted by caddis at 2:11 PM on September 3, 2005

I don't know much about it either, but whenever copyleft is discussed in any context, Lawrence Lessig's name is mentioned. He's the founder and chairmen of Creative Commons, has written numerous books on the subject, and has a blog.

As with most topics, I suggest Wikipedia as starting point; in this case, the Copyleft article.
posted by bitpart at 4:00 PM on September 3, 2005

Usually when writing papers, it's helpful to have a specific target of discussion in mind. Copyright/left is way, way too vague. How about narrowing down the topic to particular aspects? For example, the recent European decision to strike down software patents, or the difficulty in enforcing the GPL to for-profit companies, or the innovative methods free-software advocates are using to combat the "system" inside the system, like open-patents.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 6:11 PM on September 3, 2005

The Electronic Frontier Foundation's page on intellectual property is a good resource for you. Also check out their white papers.
posted by ikkyu2 at 12:26 PM on September 4, 2005

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