Thursday, March 31, 2005

Test Cases redux

Dave Winer again:

The uniform response was that since Cory's book is offered under the Creative Commons attribution share-alike license, I am not "permitted" to change the author's name, or charge for the right to a copy. I put the word permitted in quotes, because the responders haven't explained why Cory's work is so-protected and my work, which is offered under a standard copyright, isn't.
My response did not claim that Dave's work is not protected; the issue is that Cory's work is protected, and that the extent of that protection is clearly delineated by the license he's chosen.

(Note that Dave misstates Cory's license here: the Attribution-ShareAlike license would, in fact, allow Dave to charge for a copy of Cory's work. But Down and Out is actually under the Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license, which explicitly forbids commercial uses.)

[N]ot only is it possible for Cory to opt-out of my creative rip-and-burn act of 21st Century artistry, but it actually requires Cory to opt-in! Well well well.

Does this perhaps ring a bell?
Ah, back to Google Toolbar again. No, it doesn't ring a bell. Regardless of Dave's copyright or Cory's license, fair use suggests that, for personal use, I'm free to print portions of their work and annotate it; doodle on it; cross out the author's name and replace it with "arsehole"; fold it into a paper plane and fly it into the waste-paper bin.

There's no "opt-in" or "opt-out" from fair use: it gives rights to users, not producers, of content.

Now, Google Toolbar's modifications are made in my browser; at my request; and without republication. That to me sounds very much like annotation for personal use. The "print-it-out" analogy holds: would it be OK for me to print out your web page and use a pencil to annotate an address with a reference to a street map grid square? Clearly yes. Why then is it not OK for me to use Google Toolbar to annotate an address with a link to a map?