Copyright/Zittrain: The frequent unlawfulness of amateur creativity may be appealing to those who see it as a countercultural movement, like that of graffiti—part of the point of doing it is that it is edgy or illegal. It may even make the products of amateur cultural innovation less co-optable by the mainstream industrial information economy, since it is hard to clear rights for an anonymous film packing in images and sounds from hundreds of different sources, some proprietary. But if prevention of commercial exploitation is the goal of some authors, it is best to let them simply structure their licenses to preclude it. Authors can opt to share their work under Creative Commons licenses that restrict commercial reuse of the work, while permitting limitless noncommercial use and modification by others. (1)
As the capacity to inflict damage on “real world” interests increases with the Internet’s reach and with the number of valuable activities reliant upon it, the imperatives to take action will also increase. As both generative ((s) see terminology/Zittrain) and non-generative devices maintain constant contact with various vendors and software providers, regulators may seek to require those manufacturers to shape the services they offer more precisely, causing a now-familiar wound to generativity. One way to reduce pressure on institutional and technological gatekeepers is to ensure that individual wrongdoers can be held directly responsible.
No one fully owns today’s problems of copyright infringement and defamation online, just as no one fully owns security problems on the Net. But the solution is not to conscript intermediaries to become the Net police. Under prevailing law Wikipedia could get away with much less stringent monitoring of its articles for plagiarized work, and it could leave plainly defamatory material in an article but be shielded in the United States by the Communications Decency Act provision exempting those hosting material from responsibility for what others have provided. (2)
1. See Creative Commons, Choose a License available at http://wwwcreativecommons.org/license/ (last visited Mar. 22, 2007).
2. As noted in Chapter 6, one might argue in Wikipedia’s case that anyone editing Wikipedia is actually an agent of Wikipedia, and therefore not “another” service provider under 47 U.S.C. § 230(c)._____________Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.
The Future of the Internet--And How to Stop It New Haven 2009