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Open Source Intellectual Property May 14, 2005

Posted by mais in India, Patent.
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Open Source isn’t just for code anymore…

What do fashion, yoga, and libraries have in common? All are dealing with the issues of “intellectual property” and “open source.” The fashion industry has a long history of valuing creativity and accepting the sharing and “remixing” of fashion ideas. Meanwhile, a teacher of the 5000 year old practice of yoga has copyrighted his methods and poses and is being opposed by an “open source yoga” movement. And, at the recent O’reilly Emerging Technology Conference, the theme was “Remix your world” and included Lawrence Lessig speaking about copyright, and Cory Doctorow spelling out the dangers of Digital Rights Management, and a fascinating presentation by Clay Shirky on Ontologies. Read on…

* Ready to Share
On January 29, 2005, the Norman Lear Center held a landmark event on fashion and the ownership of creativity. The event had an incredible variety of participants including John Seely Brown (former Chief Scientist of Xerox Corporation), musician and producer T Bone Burnett, Danger Mouse (creator of the Grey Album), and Siva Vaidhyanathan (Professor of Culture and Communication at New York University).

More than any other industry, fashion treats a far larger portion of its creative output as a commons – shared resources that can be freely reused and transformed by other creators.

Ready to Share is funded in part by a generous gift from the Center for the Public Domain. For lots more information see the press coverage and press releases page. For a quick overview of the issues, see the opinion piece, Control of creativity? Fashion’s secret By David Bollier and Laurie Racine. Christian Science Monitor, September 09, 2003.
* Bikram goes to the mat, By Hilary E. MacGregor. Los Angles Times, March 21, 2005.

After he sued an Orange County yoga studio for copyright and trademark infringement in 2002, a small group of yogis went on the counterattack. Taking a page from the “open source” movement in the computer software world, they called themselves “Open Source Yoga Unity.”

* O’Reilly Emerging Technology Conference, March 2005, San Diego, Ca.
o press coverage
o Doctorow: All Complex Ecosystems Have Parasites by Cory Doctorow, For the O’Reilly Emerging Technology Conference. San Diego, California, 16 March 2005.

Likewise, DRM has exacted a punishing toll wherever it has come into play, costing us innovation, free speech, research and the public’s rights in copyright. And likewise, DRM has not stopped infringement: today, infringement is more widespread than ever. All those costs borne by society in the name of protecting artists and stopping infringement, and not a penny put into an artist’s pocket, not a single DRM-restricted file that can’t be downloaded for free and without encumbrance from a P2P network.

o Lessig: Re:MixMe. Audio (MP3) of presentation by Lawrence Lessig, Professor of Law, Stanford Law School, Thursday, March 17.
o Shirky: Ontology is Overrated: Links, Tags, and Post-hoc Metadata. Abstract of presentation by Clay Shirky, Wednesday, March 16.

Ontology, far from being an ideal high-order tool, is a 300-year-old hack, now nearing the end of its useful life. The problem ontology solves is not how to organize ideas but how to organize things–the Library of Congress’s classification scheme exists not because concepts require consistent hierarchical placement, but because books do.

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