Make it all Free

Copyright, patents, trademarks. These are all ways that corporations, or individuals protect their work or their intellectual property. And while this does encourage people to create new inventions or works so that they can then profit off of their work it also slows down the progress for humanity. Art and culture, science and technology, innovation is slowed down by locking up ideas and works for years, if not infinite amounts of time. Corporations have found ways to avoid allowing their works to enter the public domain so that other creators might use them. Disney is a prime example of this. When it comes to science and medicine some companies will make the prices of their products unreasonably high so that necessary treatment for live threatening illnesses are sometimes impossible to afford.

So we should lessen the rules dramatically and make copyright something shorter such as 15 years maximum and make it much more difficult to extend. This should accelerate progress. Authors/creators still have incentive to create however they cannot hoard it forever. It encourages the original author to either make the most of their project in the first place or to continue innovating.

In terms of citizen media it would make it much easier for amateurs to build on works. Fan culture would be more accessible as the materials entered the public domain to be modified sooner. Companies couldn’t greedily hoard their works and drug companies couldn’t hold live saving medicines at unreasonable prices for very long.

Already there is a revolution where people opt to make their works free. Opensource software is more popular than you might think and sites like SourceForge encourage participation and sharing. There are sites for sharing of art/photography that is open as well. Unsplash features original works by photographers that allow anyone to use their works for free. Each of these sites are legal and make use of creative commons licences. The creative commons licencing and opensource each encourage citizen media production and combat the oppressive copyright laws in place for other works. If only we could convince corporations and governments to make better use of this concept and work for a greater good instead of pure profit. Did you know you can sell opensource software?

Free culture doesn’t mean no profit. Its time to start moving forward and unlock our content.

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