publicly funded copyright - humanist @ roua.org :

publicly funded copyright

Written by Romeo Anghelache no comments

If the public of a country funds some research or educational activity which results in an article, book or report, that should be accessible unconditionally to that public.

In other words, the results of any kind of activity that is at least partially funded from public money, should be accessible to the public, right? There's no justification for copyright, then.

Ah, some would say, public money, ok, but accessing the results of private research should be paid for. Wait a minute, the public pays that too, if you buy an apple, or a kind of detergent, you are funding the research of that company which sells you the detergent or the apple. So you have the right to access it and use the results.

When you hear that a large company is funding a large musical event, remember it's your own money at work if you ever bought something from them, if not, then it's your neighbour's money, so go thank him for that.

Copyright is a form of getting paid at least twice for the same thing. And it is only encouraged by the people who get a profit out of maintaining the copyright without participating in the creation effort of the copyrighted work (lawyers, publishers).

In the current form, copyright is just another way of transferring money from those who work, to those who make a business out of handling that work, and outside of that work. Aren't you tired of it?

Sounds too radical, or abstract? Read on.

For example, the spanish people should have the right to access directly the results of a group of spanish researchers who seem to have found an effective solution for a certain class of cancers. Clicking on the above link will give you the abstract, would you like to see the details? Pay 23 USD. But the spanish people already paid for that.

So, what's the point of the copyright then? The only point is to make money at least once more for those who claim to protect such a concept, without ever getting involved in the real work. The irony is, they are already paid once by the same public, either by private or public funding, or by buying from them different consulting services.

Nobody writes or does something out of thin air, there are research grants people use to write books, and they get a salary for that too, or a raise, from either the government or a private company. And the public pays them both. So the public has the right of accessing their results.

My point is that whoever structures information, has the natural right to be considered the author of that work, and that's all of it. Because of that, the author gets known, consulted, hired and paid for those services. Who will hire someone else for help in that specific area where the author commited the work, unless that someone else became a specialist in the same area by making some other work visible?

Beside paying several times for this, everybody's access to the work paid for is effectively cut: copyright stands against progress, it slows down or postpones work built on previous works. If you want to acknowledge the funding of your public, copyleft your work or use a Creative commons license which ensures others can build their work on yours.

It's relatively cheap these days to provide access, electronically, to the research the public paid for, because almost everybody's editing on a computer. Don't forget to ask that access for "free" to your government, today. It's not for free anyway: you already paid for it.

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