Patently Absurd

So here’s a 28 minute movie about the current patent system in the USA. It’s a good study about how absurd a patent system for pure mathematical formulas is and might become in other countries.

http://patentabsurdity.com/

Don’t shoot me for having an opinion, but I got some problems with it:

It doesn’t really explain the problem for non-technical people. I can’t use this to show a friend what might become a problem in Europe, because I would have to explain a lot myself: what is a «troll», what is software exactly, … On top of that I think more examples like the Beethoven part could’ve been given to make this movie a lot less abstract.

The main reason why I think this movie is not of any value is the license. It’s licensed with a creative commons attribution non-derivatives license (CC BY-ND). This means I cannot make any alterations to the movie, nor make subtitles which go more into detail, neither can I fix the sound in some parts of the movie, neither can I fix problems from the previous paragraph, … before I would screen it at my university.

When I asked someone involved in the movie if that’s really okay for him, a non-derivatives license, he responded: yes. I think ND, as FSF believes too, is good for  “opinion stuff”.

I don’t think ND is good for “opinion stuff” at all though. When you make something around your opinion, you have three reasons for doing so:

  1. You want to be informative towards a certain public
  2. You want to persuade people for a certain cause
  3. You want to start a discussion

Since we live in a democracy, the latter is very important. People won’t change opinion because of a movie, they will change their opinion in debate. Not letting people make derivatives of a work equals taking away a manner of speech.

So in the end, with a ND licensed work around someone’s opinion, I cannot make the movie better for the same cause, neither can the other party take the movie and highlight their problems from the same perspective. I do not support this at all and in my opinion it makes this movie worth almost nothing.

-Pieter — follow me on identi.ca

I expected more from this man.

Richard Stallman - Do you really support ND? (by Luca Lucarini - CC BY-SA)

2 comments

  1. drew Roberts

    I think one of the problems is that we don’t have laws that allow people to “protect” what they want to which is not to have distortions of their views presented as their views and so the choose ND type licenses in an effort to do that as it is the only tool that comes close to what they want.

    I don’t like ND for this myself either. It may not even work for the purpose due to the possibility of misquote in a fair use situation. What else can you use?

    For written works, you could try BY-SA with a prior disallowing of using your name in connection with any derivatives (possibly unless approved by you) but this would be tougher to do in a video where you are speaking on screen. The license would have to make you be pulled out of those scenes and someone else put in. Otherwise, they would be putting their words into your mouth so to speak.

    Could it be that we don’t have good tools for this because the laws have been made with the promotion and protection of large commercial interests in mind?

    • pietercolpaert

      «I think one of the problems is that we don’t have laws that allow people to “protect” what they want to which is not to have distortions of their views presented as their views and so the choose ND type licenses in an effort to do that as it is the only tool that comes close to what they want.»

      With CC BY-SA I don’t think that is a real problem. When they make a derivative work and twist your words in another context they will still have to attribute you and link to the original work.

      As well will they have to license this remix CC BY-SA. Which means you are free to edit their remix and twist their words.

      In the end it would have been a smarter move not to twist your words in the first place, because you will have had a lot of publicity for your original work.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s