Joe Clark’s Cranky About Copyright

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Reading a book in progress is an unusual concept. Being a technical editor, I get to do it here at SitePoint, and it’s great fun to watch a book take shape. If you’d like to be a part of that process, and you’re interested in copyright, then Joe Clark (yes, the very same Joe Clark known to accessibility fans) has just announced his latest project: The Cranky Copyright Book.

If you’re reading this, chances are you’re also a creator. Whether you’re writing text, drawing graphics, taking photos, or building blog themes, copyright is an important concept that affects us all. It’s especially true if you want to reuse content you found elsewhere. Plenty of people aren’t happy with the current state of affairs—of course, there’s Creative Commons, but there’s still plenty of room for criticism there. Joe asks:

What if everything you knew about copyright was wrong?

Well, it isn’t. And I’m not here to tell you it is. But I do want to break you out of the spell you’ve been under since Larry Lessig became your secular god.

There really is a way to look at copyright that is not a form of apologia for dying “content” industries, like the music business and Hollywood studios. This new way also has very little to do with “free culture,” Creative Commons, and the teachings of gurus like Lessig and Michael Geist.

Sassy! Whether you agree or disagree with this stance, I’m sure we can all agree that there ought to be more voices in the copyright debate, and Joe’s upcoming book promises to do exactly that. What’s also interesting to me is that he’s asking for micropatronage to help him get the book off the ground. Benefactors (or should we call them microbenefactors?) will be able to read beta chapters as they appear, and they’ll be acknowledged in the final book, which will be published in both electronic and physical formats.

It’s early days yet, but this looks like it will become an interesting experiment in publishing—and it’s about an important topic to boot. You can find out more about The Cranky Copyright Book project at its Web site.

Raena Jackson ArmitageRaena Jackson Armitage
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Raena Jackson Armitage is an Australian web developer with a background in content management, public speaking, and training. When she is not thinking about the Web, she loves knitting, gaming, all-day breakfasts, and cycling.

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