Confused About Copyright

I read an amusing entry on Benjamin Voight's blog where he adopts a Creative Commons licence because "I don't want to find my posts taken out of context on any eZine site" and "Now I'm protecting both, Microsoft and myself of getting bad press without even the chance to retaliate". It seems the various rants by Shelley Powers on the potential confusion that Creative Commons Licences would cause was right on.

The first problem with Benjamin's decision is that one would expect that if he wanted to restrict how his content was used he would be better of leaving things as is (i.e. using established copyright law) instead of using a Creative Commons Licence whose express purpose is to help people dedicate their creative works to the public domain -- or retain their copyright while licensing them as free for certain uses, on certain conditions. So one wonders why a less restrictive licence would be favored by someone who wants to restrict reuse of his content.

More importantly though is the fact that neither the Creative Commons licence nor regular copyright can give him the protection he wants. No copyright licence can prevent people from quoting your work and/or taking it out of context. There are probably decades if not centuries of case law that have entrenched such quoting as being "fair use". For anyone who doubts this I suggest reading When Copying Is Ok -- The 'Fair Use' Rule from

Similarly, I sincerely doubt there is any copyright licence that can protect one from getting negative press. If you make an ass of yourself online, post something that people disagree with or leak something you shouldn't have then nothing in your weblog terms of use or copyright licence will prevent you from getting bad press if someone decides to write about you.

When I read stuff like Benjamin's post I wonder why such people bother to post online at all if they are so paranoid about the repercussions of their words.


Google Buys Pyra

Just read on Slashdot that Google is buying Pyra the company that runs and No obvious [financially beneficial] synergies come to mind and I pretty much draw the same conclusions as this post on Slashdot. Curious.


Fighting Injustice

There were a bunch protesters against the upcoming war with War on Iraq blocking traffic around my neck of the woods yesterday. I also was doing my bit to fight global injustice by trying to Save Frenchie


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Disclaimer: The above comments do not represent the thoughts, intentions, plans or strategies of my employer. They are solely my opinion.


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