What would you say to Peter?

Peter Jaworski is a contributor to the libertarian Canadian blog The Volunteer.  In a post reprinted below, he wrestles with the idea of intellectual property, proposals to reform copyright law, and the use of copyleft licenses.  We ran across his essay because he draws extensively on the comic strips (and one of the Minute Memes) of Nina Paley, artist-in-residence here at QuestionCopyright.org.  Peter's discussion expresses very well the deliberations of many people who are open to the critiques and proposals advanced on this site but who are, nevertheless, hesitant.

We're reprinting it here partly to get your reactions.  Peter is honest about his emotional response to the idea that someone who puts a lot of effort into their art is entitled to something -- reward, or control, or recognition -- and this makes him doubt his support for sharing.  Interestingly, he reverses the usual position: he says "on most days, I [...] think intellectual property is bunk. But I'm open to being persuaded, if you've got a good story to tell."  He starts from a pro-sharing stance, but wonders if he's right.  People like Peter are the "independent voters" of the copyright reform movement, if you will, and understanding their instincts is central to our mission.  What would you ask Peter?

Mimi and Eunice: Hyphenated Liberty

by Peter Jaworski on November 3, 2010

Hyphenated Liberty

Mimi and Eunice is a cartoon strip drawn by Nina Paley. Nina does not believe in intellectual property. She lets just anyone reprint her comic strips, provided no one pretends that the work is theirs. That’s the only restriction she views as legitimate — no fraud or attempt to mislead people about the originator of the work.

Nina endorses “copyleft.” Go ahead and click the link for an explanation. For an extended explanation of just what copyleft means, and why Nina is often grumpy, check out her blog post on the branding confusion with Creative Commons licences here.

Here’s a little video she put together highlighting her views on the difference between ordinary theft, and intellectual property “theft":

Want To Be a Legal Intern at QuestionCopyright.org?


Calling all law students — or at least the ones who weren't planning to work for the RIAA later:

Our legal intern position is open! We're looking for someone interested in learning more about copyright law and using it to promote freedom. Several of our projects have legal components, so the responsibilities of the position are varied. They will involve research in U.S. and international copyright law, non-profit law (federal and CA state), some trademark law, tracking legislative developments, some writing, etc. The minimum time commitment is about five hours a week, with more available if you want it. A New York City location is preferred but not required. There may be some limited travel (which we pay for), at your discretion.

The position is unpaid, but you would be working with an experienced lawyer (our counsel, Karen Sandler), and we're happy to meet reasonable requirements for law school credit.

Interested? Contact us. We'll keep the posting open until we get the right candidate — it could be you!

QuestionCopyright.org receives $10,000 grant from Kahle/Austin Foundation.

We're very pleased to announce a $10,000 grant from the Kahle/Austin Foundation, received in the first few days of 2011!

Our team is still considering how best to allocate this New Year's gift, but it will likely be divided between projects and fundraising (turns out it costs money to raise money, and we were right in the middle of a grantwriting effort, so this is perfect timing).

If you like our work, please consider joining Kahle/Austin in supporting us.  We are a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, so donations are tax-deductible in the U.S.  Your support means we can make more Minute Memes, help other artists try out the freedom-friendly audience-distribution model used so successfully by our Artist-in-Residence Nina Paley, and do many other things to help make the world safe for sharing again.

Many thanks to the Kahle/Austin Foundation, and to our board member Brewster Kahle.



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