‘Provisional But Forever’

We have run across a quite long and not at all Web-like article (all the more reason to like it!) that originates a new way of looking at modifications and copyright. To the age-old question “Don’t I have to pay Jack Valenti to caption Shakespeare in Love and post it on the Web?” the answer, from Kevin Carey of a U.K. organization called humanITy (love the capitals), is “You’re asking the wrongquestion.”

As far as Carey is concerned, we need a new way to authorize and pay for future modifications of an artwork when those modifications are necessitated by a change in audience (e.g., suddenly you want to air Coronation Street in Italy) or medium (Webcasting Coronation Street). In “Provisional But Forever: Two Faces of Internet Publishing,” Carey spits out gem after gem after gem, like a South African diamond-smuggler.

This Carey guy rocks pretty hard, doesn’t he?

He’s missing a few points. Elsewhere, he complains that rightsholders demand renegotiation for every subsequent technology. Well, that may be true after the rightsholder has extorted fullr ights from the creator, but not otherwise.

What happened to the other half? Ethically, it’s yours, but the publisher extorted all rights and can do what it wants.

Fair-dealing provisions (and, in the U.S., fair use, which is notably different) already allow you do to things like add hyperlinks. It comes under the rubric of “review and commentary.”

But in any event, a clarion call from Carey. You read about it here first. And, if experience is any guide,last.

Posted on 2001-01-12