Artist Gwenn Seemel: Copyright is about fear, not money.

Gwenn Seemel self-portrait Second Face 2009Zinger quote from full-time artist (and QCO reader) Gwenn Seemel:

I'm fascinated by how artists say that their adherence to copyright is about money (even when they aren't making a living with their work) but that when you dig a little deeper it comes out that it's about fear.  It's about the fear that someone will do what you're doing but do it better than you ever did.

QCO Minute Meme "Copying Is Not Theft" Sets the Frame Again on Al Jazeera

Thanks to reader Osama Khalid for telling us about another use of Nina Paley's Minute Meme Copying Is Not Theft on Al Jazeera — in this case, using it exactly as we hope the Minute Memes will be used: to set the frame or introduce the issues for a discussion. It's played near the beginning, at about 2:30:

And it's followed by a fantastic interview with Rick Falkvinge, in which he explains why Pirate Party resonates with so many people and why its political philosophy is deeply connected with civil liberties.

(This is not the first time that "Copying Is Not Theft" has appeared on Al Jazeera.)

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Copyright Gone Mad in Canada

The Copyright Flag of Canada.Any monopoly over public information is questionable, but we cast an especially gimlet gaze on attempts to monopolize publicly-funded information.  That's what the government of Canada is doing to GeoCoder.ca right now (well, "doing to all Canadians" would be more accurate, but GeoCoder.ca is the lucky proximate target).

Canada Post is upset over GeoCoder's freely-licensed database of Canadian postal codes.  Since 2004 GeoCoder has crowdsourced the creation of a geo-coded Canadian postal code database.  That is, members of the public have entered postal codes (public data) linked to location information (also public data).  The resultant dataset is useable by anyone, and saves people from having to pay Canada Post $5000 CAD for an official copy.

So what does Canada Post do?  Naturally, they sue.

(Plant face firmly in desk here.)

No, really.  It's not April Fool's Day anymore -- we wouldn't make this up.  Here's a quote from Canada Post's lawyer-gram:

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