Saturday, October 01, 2022 Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 licence.

Alex Kozinski

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Overprotecting intellectual property is as harmful as underprotecting it. Culture is impossible without a rich public domain. Nothing today, likely nothing since we tamed fire, is genuinely new: Culture, like science and technology, grows by accretion, each new creator building on the works of those who came before. Overprotection stifles the very creative forces it's supposed to nurture."
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Dissenting in the White v. Samsung Elec. Am., Inc., 989 F.2d 1512 (9th Cir. 1993) ruling.

 
Alex Kozinski

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A free culture has been our past, but it will only be our future if we change the path we are on right now. Like Stallman's arguments for free software, an argument for free culture stumbles on a confusion that is hard to avoid, and even harder to understand. A free culture is not a culture without property; it is not a culture in which artists don't get paid. A culture without property, or in which creators can't get paid, is anarchy, not freedom. Anarchy is not what I advance here. Instead, the free culture that I defend in this book is a balance between anarchy and control. A free culture, like a free market, is filled with property. It is filled with rules of property and contract that get enforced by the state. But just as a free market is perverted if its property becomes feudal, so too can a free culture be queered by extremism in the property rights that define it. That is what I fear about our culture today. It is against that extremism that this book is written.

 
Lawrence Lessig
 

For better or worse, we are the Court of Appeals for the Hollywood Circuit. Millions of people toil in the shadow of the law we make, and much of their livelihood is made possible by the existence of intellectual property rights. But much of their livelihood - and much of the vibrancy of our culture - also depends on the existence of other intangible rights: The right to draw ideas from a rich and varied public domain, and the right to mock, for profit as well as fun, the cultural icons of our time.

 
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When I look at a building, how can I know there was a builder? Can't see him, hear him, touch him, taste him or smell him, so how can I know there was a builder? Well, the building is absolute proof there was a builder. I couldn't want better proof that there was a builder than to have the building as evidence. I don't need faith to believe in a builder, all I need is eyes that can see and a brain that works. Now the same deep, rich, scientific principle works with paintings and painters.... And the same principle works with God. When I look at Creation how can I know there was a creator? Well, creation is absolute proof there was a creator. I don't need faith to believe in a creator, all I need is eyes that can see and a brain that works.

 
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Linux is not in the public domain. Linux is a cancer that attaches itself in an intellectual property sense to everything it touches. That's the way that the license works.

 
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The meaning of this pattern is absolutely clear to those who pay to produce it. The meaning is: No one can do to the Disney Corporation what Walt Disney did to the Brothers Grimm. That though we had a culture where people could take and build upon what went before, that's over. There is no such thing as the public domain in the minds of those who have produced these 11 extensions these last 40 years because now culture is owned.

 
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