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Cory Doctorow On Dancing Toddlers, Fan-Fic, and Cultural Copyright

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Cory Doctorow, relentless champion of no stinkin’ copyrights, has a piece in The Guardian (UK) that starts off with a fatal flaw, right from the jump:

In theory, there’s just one set of copyright rules and they apply to everyone, from Sony Pictures to your neighbour’s eight-year-old who wants to photocopy his Spider-Man comics and sell them to the other kids.

What kid does this? Who’s dumb enough to buy some crappy copy of a comic?

Doctorow goes on about how the internet has made “folk-users” bolder in their appropriation of the creative works of others, with horrible repercussions. He cites

Now you have billionaire media empires behaving as though parents should get a licence for a Prince song before they upload a YouTube video of their adorable toddler dancing to it.

Adorable toddlers dancing to Prince should be hunted down, taken away from their parents, and kept in a suitable institution, far away from video cameras. The parents should be whipped. But we digress.

He goes on about writers of fan-fiction, people uploading videos of jolly singalongs, and other such “cultural” uses (his word, not ours) needing protection beyond the grasp of those greedy corporations, authors, artists, etc.

Well, fine. But the kid in the lede was selling his home-made comics, not giving them away. Should that use be protected? Pirating is okay for the under-aged? That’s how gang hits work.

And then he drags in the disabled:

Access to Knowledge (A2K) treaty is a proposal from the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) to set out the rights and responsibilities of archivists, educators and people who provide access to disabled users of information.

The drafting group – which is open to the general public – includes representatives of creators’ groups (tellingly, no one from the corporations that buy creators’ works have taken part), disabled rights groups, technical standards bodies, civil rights groups, even medical rights groups like Medecins Sans Frontieres.

Why the disabled get a pass on copyright violation is a mystery.

Has Doctorow taken a position on the WGA strike? It’s all about internet use.

Donna Druchunas comments, as possible violations of copyright is a huge issue in the knitting community.

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