Thank you, Jane, for that wonderful post. If I were a more 
responsible person I'd have been following up on Creative 
Commons, and would have been able to say some of what Jane says.

It's worth having a look at the site (maybe start with the 
"about" page):

> If someone violates your copyright of a book or article, the
> onus is on you to do something about it. There are no
> copyright police unless, like Disney and McDonald's, you have
> the bucks and something to lose. 

Actually, of course, folks like Disney and McDonald's (and the 
rapacious, parasitic great-grandchildren of real creative 
artists), all would _like_ there to be copyright police. That 
would make _us_ pay, through our taxes, for the enforcement of 
_their_ "property rights."

And bravo, Jane: I wish I'd said this, and as well:

> The philosophy behind the Creative Commons is what really
> impresses me, though. If we think about the fact that many of
> us are getting paid already to do our research, then it seems
> to me the payers (taxpayers, citizens, students) have a right
> to see what we've discovered. And if we think about what the
> point of creating knowledge is, then I think that,
> fundamentally, it must be shared. It's about education in a
> wider context. 

Ideally, we'd also pay writers, painters, etc., as well as 
scholars and researchers, a living wage to make their work 
available. Then we wouldn't have rapacious auction barns and 
feckless descendants making themselves into  billionaires on the 
backs of starving Van Goghs.

And then there's the other part.  I couldn't say this better 
than Jane does, either:

> There's  so much possibility in freely shared knowledge,
> locally and globally. Some US universities are already making
> their course content available online for free. You can't get
> the paper credits for doing the course for free, but you can
> read all the class material. Without checking those boxed
> files, I'm in danger of crediting the wrong schools, but I
> feel fairly sure that Havard and MIT are among those leading
> this movement. One of the many exciting aspects of this kind
> of free sharing is coming from the scientists. For many years
> now, the reporting of scientific discovery has had to go
> through journals such as Lancet for medicine, and which have
> become exhorbitantly expensive. Journal subscriptions are
> eating up university library budgets and it seems every year
> the number our small library can afford is reduced. But more
> importantly, the scandals around medical journal editorial
> policies (here in the Canada recently) and around drug
> company restrictions on the reporting of discoveries (the
> Nancy Olivieri case and the David Healey case) make it clear
> that Academic Freedom must include the right to publish to as
> broad an audience as we wish and the right to provide our
> knowledge to others for free. 

If you didn't read that before, read it now. This is something 
worth being passionate about.  And tape this part to your 
bathroom mirror: "Academic Freedom must include the right to 
publish to as broad an audience as we wish and the right to 
provide our knowledge to others for free."

-- Russ

St. Thomas University

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