The Importance Of Free Media
Depending on the context, “free media” is a HUGE and complicated subject; simply because it is almost impossible to separate copyright from the equation. “Free Media,” that comes from a variety of sources, such as Creative Commons, GNU, CopyLeft, and even Public Domain, still sometimes have legal complications despite the fact they’re free. But I’ve come to realize that ultimately, the problem isn’t the free content per-say, but the copyright holders, especially when those copyright holders doesn’t understand what “fair use” is. Today, I discovered an old article that talked about a copyright holder from Sweden took Wikipedia to court for posting a photo of a statue with out permission. What? Really? This was hard for me to fathom, but then again, I had to remember, that’s Sweden, and I am in America. Wikipedia is a non-profit organization, that is literally an online community library, to obtain quick information about a subject or thing. The fact that anyone, or company would go after a non-profit organization that promotes education is insane to me (regardless of where you come from). Understand that this wasn’t just any statue, it was a landmark, and to sue a website trying to educate visitors about that landmark (which every human being has a right to have), is beyond unthinkable. This is the the downside of copyright, this is the kind of copyright abuse that people don’t read about. Students who never been to Sweden, can’t even write a book report, or do research about said statue’s history, because someone wanted to create publicity and sue, and stifle the right to free education & information at the same time. Do you realize that there are stories about doctors, who have invented cures and procedures for illnesses, based on the discovery of research they’ve read by other doctors? This because those reports where not tied up in copyright crap (and documents were not all categorized as proprietary). Copyright has become such an issue and a burden, as a result of the greed of many psycho copyright owners who are in a time warp. This is an example of why Creative Commons, Open Source, and the like is so important to the content creating community. The Internet has changed the culture of media, and some copyright holders that come from the old school can’t understand it. Although Sweden copyright laws are different, common sense clearly tells us that Wiki is in no way shape or form a “for-profit” organization. Even a for-profit American newspapeer has the legal right of “fair use,” to use that photo (if the statue (or artist) was the subject matter). I sure wish our private information were held just as important, as these huge organizations protecting their copyrights. If you want to read the article, it’s right here.