April 1 birthday gifts

Wish me “happy birthday” on Facebook, “endorse” me for “scalability” on LinkedIn.

More seriously, why not give a gift to all? Extrapolate a bit from notices found on individual works (examples abound, often stipulating a public license, but a see classic one, stipulating public domain):

Unless stated otherwise, everything by me, Mike Linksvayer, published anywhere, is hereby placed in the public domain.

Evocation and scalability before equivocation and specification of edge cases and mechanisms to handle them.

Other random acts of kindness, calculated acts generating positive externality, and atavistic art, all welcome.

11 Responses

  1. Even if stated otherwise, everything by anyone, even Mike Linksvayer, published anywhere, is effectively placed in the public domain.

  2. Crosbie, I assume you mean the first definition, or are you a denialist rather than an abolitionist?

  3. Perhaps we need to coin the term ‘acceptionist’ – those who accept corruption?


    That said, even those acceptionists who accept that ‘public domain’ means ‘not protected by copyright’ should soon come to the realisation that ‘protected by copyright’ no longer exists in any case. There is only ‘subject to a license to persecute members of the public’.

  4. I’m all for using language that isn’t biased in favor of bad policy (on that note, please write “restricted by copyright” unless the subject is a copyright holder’s revenue stream or feelings) but I wouldn’t characterize all such changes as corruption. Language changes as different and new things become pertinent.

    You assert that use of “public domain” to mean free of copyright restrictions is recent. When? Citation? According to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_domain#History the term was used with respect to “falling out of copyright” from the mid-1800s and http://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=public+domain shows little use of the phrase before then.

    More substantively, you’re wrong about copyright restrictions only being pertinent to publishers, not individuals, until recently. Barriers to entry into publishing directly affect the availability and price of knowledge to the general public, even if each member of the general public doesn’t have a printing press. Thus the U.S. and Germany and others as “pirate nations”, the “cheap books” movement, etc, all things of the 1800s.

  5. Mike, that a few copyright specialists may have used ‘public domain’ to mean ‘not protected by copyright’ in the 19th century doesn’t mean this is when the switch in meaning from ‘publicly available/circulated’ to ‘not protected by copyright’ occurred. Nor does this switch occur when the dictionaries finally get round to revising their definition accordingly.

    If the general public has only recently had the means to engage in mass communication then it follows that it’s only recently that copyright’s constraint has affected the general public, i.e. only recently that the public at large has noticed the manacles upon their hands.

    You’re quite right that there are many indirect or less obvious effects of copyright upon the public – ever since copyright’s inception (and the licensing of the press beforehand). And all of them adverse.

  6. The ngrams chart I cited isn’t based on dictionary usage, see http://books.google.com/ngrams/info

    For there to have been a switch, the phrase public domain would’ve had to have been in usage before the copyrestriction-free meaning, or at least been the primary usage until … when? I don’t see evidence of either, but I’d be happy to find some. I suspect you’re merely assuming.

    You’re wildly exaggerating on magnitude of recency. The public at large has not noticed even now. It was a public issue in the 1800s, with basically the same rhetoric.

  7. Just as “We have always been at war with Eurasia”, so we have always understood ‘in the public domain’ to mean ‘not protected by copyright’ rather than ‘generally available to/circulated by the public’.

    Only those of sufficient age are going to recognise that once upon a time, despite what all the online history books tell us today, we were once not at war with Eurasia. Once upon a time, ‘public domain’, when used in a conversation, was indeed interpreted in the non-copyright sense – as opposed to its esoteric meaning often found in books and legal discussions on copyright.

    Even if the occurrence of the term in books has predominantly been concerned with copyright, I’d say the use of the term by the population at large, orally, has not been – until the last couple of decades when at some point it was overtaken by the ‘not protected by copyright’ meaning.

    This is not my assumption, but my claim. Evidence concerning oral tradition is tricky to find.

    In a few years, those who claim ‘public domain’ once had a non-copyright related meaning will have completely died out…

  8. […] Regarding the last, I recently urged all to upgrade to CC0 (a public domain dedication and license). Also, January 1 is a good date to reiterate: […]

  9. […] In the next 11+ years, Creative Commons can improve this performance by precisely 100% — remove two more words from the definition. Nobody knows which words yet: discovery will take years of versioning, research, outreach, collaboration with NonCommercial definition reusers, and perhaps a party. The result, even if not intended to change the substantive meaning of the definition, will bring an unprecedented level of clarity to NonCommercial. We can only look forward to but not yet imagine the next one. […]

  10. Is this like retconning? Shall we comment as if it was two years prior? :-\

    If so, then perhaps this article needs to be linked here eh?

    The question for historians is why the heck Lessig came up with ill-conceived pick’n’mix variants like NC et al in the first place. Maybe Gramsci? http://liquidculture.wordpress.com/2006/09/29/creative-commons-consolidates-old-school-copyright-that-argument-is-secondary/

  11. Crosbie, I’m not sure I understand what would be like retroactive continuity.

    Did you intend to leave your comment on this (2014) year’s April 1 post, A plan for a plan to accelerate clarity on “NonCommercial” by 100%?

    As to why the ill-conceived pick’n’mix CC licenses in 2002, there are probably many reasons. The mix wasn’t unique to CC at all; most of the pre-CC public licenses for “content” had similar restrictions. I (in part) blame the free software movement for not being visionary nor successful enough to ensure the norms it discovered earliest (among net-centric movements anyway) dominated (indeed liberated) all knowledge, rather than having nearby movements painfully rediscover. I still think reuniting gondwanaland would be a good thing.

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