dancing in the commons

Copyright and the Commons, Matt Haughey
Aaron Swartz talks about going to Eldred – note esp. the bit about the Bookmobile
Lincoln’s 2nd inaugural speech

With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in[…]

I went looking for that last bit after seeing a poster that left off the “with malice toward none” (which, incidentally, strikes me as the most important bit), and wondering if I’d forgotten something.

Because there is public domain, somebody can post that speech…not just a “fair use” excerpt, but the whole damn thing…I could reprint the whole thing, if I wanted to. because there is public domain, somebody else can redo the Gettysburg address as a PowerPoint presentation, and not have to ask permission or worry about the lawyers coming to get him.

If I die on my 75th birthday, you’ll be free to reuse the above image or this text in 2117.

(fair use, I hope!) When would’ve we been permitted to freely copy Lincoln’s speeches? In 1955. (question to self: what was copyright length in 1865?) When would I be able to copy Nixon’s resignation speech, in its entirety, without asking permission from anyone? In 2064. (unless I’ve got the math wrong, in which case it might be longer. note my post below…I’ll probably die in 2064.)

I can’t begin to tell you what’s wrong with that.