Real Good Friends Of Mine

Many years ago, when I was first setting up radgeek.com and preparing to migrate my blog over to it, I had already come around to completely rejecting so-called intellectual property. But I liked messing around with markup languages and microformats, and I was playing around with the new Creative Commons licensing gee-gaws, and I was not yet as thoroughly and acutely digusted with legalistic approaches or licensing formalities as I am now. So my way of making a statement at the time was to slap a CC-SA-BY logo on my website, and a long copyleft statement to go with it, which stuck around for the next 9 years. Man, that shit got boring.

So, back in February, I threw out my old copyleft notice for a new, Anticopyright statement. I didn’t put up much notice on the front page, but after everything that happened in January, and with the new work I’ve been doing for the past few years, I felt like it was time for a change. The old statement was an elaborate production, boring and full of legalistic notices, based around an explicit viral licensing scheme. I thought then — and, really, I still think now — that the open-access terms of copyleft licenses are — in the abstract — justifiable as a sort of legalistic kludge, to try to wedge open spaces for open content within the immensely shitty, locked-down political situation. But the more I’ve thought about it — and especially since re-reading William Gillis’s 100% anticopyright and re-printing Aaron’s Manifesto — the more I’ve felt like this was not nearly enough, and the more I felt like it was both conceding far too much of the argumentative ground, and also compromising far too much of my voice, as an enemy of copyright — for me to go on repeating those things with a straight face. So whatever good CC, GNU-FDL, and other copyleft licensing schemes have done to facilitate some of the technical aspects of the free culture movement, there is no legal solution to the problem of intellectual monopoly, and there will never be any solution at all except for a culture of widespread, radical, non-legalistic, ethically-grounded rejection of all claims of intellectual property, and a grassroots culture of social solidarity with remixers, pirates and other free copyists. The more brazen, the better. So I offer my anticopyright statement, such as it is, as a contribution to that culture.

. . . I don’t care anymore. It’s not enough to try to kludge the legalities of copy-monopolies from within. So-called intellectual property is in fact nothing more than a legally fabricated monopoly, suppressing competition and emulation, constraining creativity, confining culture, science and technology to captive, capitalist-dominated markets, and violently depriving many of the poorest and most marginalized from access to critical resources for education and life-saving medicines. The legal fictions of copyright and patent are despotic attempts to monopolize the human mind; power-psychotic burdens crippling and destroying individual ownership and the progress of grassroots culture and technologies; outrageous constraints on human intelligence and creativity; and a destructive and desperate protectionist scheme for the profit of powerful corporations. This web project is, in spirit and in letter, at war with every aspect of Intellectual Protectionism, in its principles — of monopolizing power, entitlement, social control and economic privilege — and in its operation — through increasingly invasive government policing and legal coercion — and in the disastrous global effects of patent and copyright restrictions.

I’ve been glad to see that some people found the statement useful, and have passed it around, even though I made the change fairly quietly behind the scenes of the website and didn’t make any particular effort to post notice on the front page. In the first part of my anticopyright notice, I wrote:

Copying is not theft, and when you reprint, duplicate or imitate you don’t deprive anyone of the work or the ideas that they had. . . . Copy, reprint, translate, make derivative works as you please. If you want to support the work, you can do that. But anyone found copying the content on these pages without permission, will be a real good friend of mine.

And so, with that in mind, here’s some real good friends of mine:

And most recently:

Thanks, y’all! I’m glad if you’ve found the writing useful; and I’m really quite honored if you’ve passed it around. If you’ve copied the free-copy-notice, and I didn’t catch it here, feel free to let me know in the comments.

This machine kills intellectual monopolies.

2 replies to Real Good Friends Of Mine Use a feed to Follow replies to this article · TrackBack URI

  1. Crosbie Fitch

    Here’s my statement: “I will not accept the enslavement of my fellow man, nor any imposition upon his liberty, as reward for the publication of my art”.

    And my ‘license’: “Naturally, you are free to take any liberties you wish with these published works. However, should a privilege ever be granted to constrain your liberty then its holders constrain you thus: the liberties you take may not be withheld from those to whom you give these works (or your combined/derivative works), who you must similarly constrain.”

  2. Lori

    I use Cypherpunks’ Anti License.

    I especially like the following non-provision:

    The CPL serves to pledge to the user that the distributors will behave in a manner consistent with the non-existance of Intellectual Property (IP) laws as far as they are able.

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