November 10, 2004
NPR and the copyright on politics
I had a "driveway moment" with Morning Edition on NPR this morning in the parking lot at work. They were talking about how copyright burdens political documentaries, which sounded familiar. Once they got a sound bite from Larry Lessig I remembered this story he wrote for Wired about how special interests were controlling political commentary through copyright.
NPR is the only broadcast media outlet I hear talking about copyright reform and alternatives. The best explanation I've seen, heard or read of Creative Commons is Talk of the Nation's coverage of the Wired CD. Maybe they'll pull a BBC and license their archives under a Creative Commons license, but I wouldn't hold my breath.
On another note, I was talking to Andy Baio about Firefox (1.0 is out, go get it and I'll give you a buck when I see you, offer valid where valid) and his description in his linkblog that it was "the best consumer product out of the open-source movement." He asked me if I agreed with that assessment and I said something like "If you mean the best open source product, yes. I think Google or TiVo are the best products of the open source movement."
What I mean by that is that both were possible because Linux was easy to build revolutionary things with. Google started out as a few spare Linux systems at Stanford and is now a lot of Linux systems. TiVo runs Linux and they release their changes to the kernel just like the GPL says. I doubt either of these projects would have gotten off the ground if they had to spend thousands of dollars licensing proprietary software, they are products of open source even if they aren't actually open source themselves. The Creative Commons is doing the same thing, providing the building blocks for the next generation to make insanely cool media.
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