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Re: [libreplanet-discuss] Ethical Legitimacy of Attribution. Was: GFDL w


From: Bruno Félix Rezende Ribeiro
Subject: Re: [libreplanet-discuss] Ethical Legitimacy of Attribution. Was: GFDL with Invariant Sections or other unmodifiable parts. Was: Final Thesis: H-node
Date: Tue, 04 Jun 2013 11:35:20 -0300
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/24.1 (gnu/linux)

"Michał 'rysiek' Woźniak" <address@hidden> writes:

>> Finally, under the light of the previous standpoints, I believe that
>> mandatory attribution is ethically illegitimate.  People should only
>> attribute a derivative work if they feel they should do so.  Thus,
>> CC-*-BY, for instance, should not exist.
>
> Up to this point I would agree. I do however believe that proper attribution 
> does not infringe on any freedoms.

In fact it does infringe the freedom to not acknowledge other people
when you judge it is not technically necessary.  But the real problem is
the educational consequences about the motivation a work should have in
a free and cooperative society.  Enforcing credit is just selfishness
that affects the whole world perpetuating the egoism ideal and
supporting the oligarchy of original authors.

> If a work is a derivative of some other work, it is ethically proper
> to give credit where credit's due.

Your statement is based on the assumption that when one makes a
derivative work he is in debt with the original author or the author own
his work to some extent.  Well, if someone feels in debt with the
original author, he is free to make proper acknowledgements as he sees
fit, and to buy a beer and to send a postal card.  But, stating that
everyone else is in debt and must pay giving credits is to stand for one
of the following viewpoints:

1. I believe in the existence of the so called "Intellectual Property"
   as a natural right.  The author own his work or he is in a privileged
   position than anyone else in regard to their work.  Anyone is kinda
   taking away something from the author if they does not give credit to
   him.

2. Even if the author does not possess his work or is not in a natural
   superior position than the general public, it deserves credit for the
   energy and time he spent on his work and everyone must therefore
   acknowledge him.

My position on the two above cases are:

1. Every published work is nothing but an idea that assumed a physical
   representation to be distributed and then internalized by minds
   beyond the author's.  They are not physical objects which, in
   principle, someone could have a property on.  Ideas, by its own
   nature, cannot be created --- they are just discovered.  It is
   unfair, and then ethically wrong, to give special rights to someone
   with regard an idea.  Why should we deprive other people from the
   same rights over that idea?  Who is able to decide?  The idea does
   not belong to anyone.  It is impossible to take away something from
   the author by not giving credit, because it is impossible to take
   away ideas --- ideas are omnipresent.  Furthermore, the author still
   have a physical representation of the idea he called "My work!".  The
   term "Intellectual Property", despite the name, is a twisted concept
   to talk about different laws as if they are one, and has nothing to
   do with the existence of a mystical and meta-physical natural right.
   Supporting this idea is to endorse the author's role as a superior
   benevolent creator; that is a false grounded and harmful attitude.

2. Generally, it is not right to deny the fact that the author spent
   some amount of time and energy on his work.  It would be a lie,
   otherwise, and in the majority of the cases an unjustified one.  But
   given the previous standpoint it does not, ethically, put every
   person in the world with the obligation to provide credit to the
   author, by the author and for the author's sake.

So, what are the reasons behind demanding mandatory credit for every
derivative work?

Ethically speaking, none.  It is just a way the vast majority of authors
use to feed their ego and to put themselves in the superior position of
original author.

Technically speaking, none.  There could be the need to inform people
about the original work for a particular reason inherent or convenient
for the work in question.  For sure it is a big presumptuousness from an
author to predict that every derivative work, for his work, fits that
category.  So, the author of each derivative work is who must decide
that question for his particular derivative work.  Note that under this
circumstances his decision does not influence in the original work, that
still remains as it was when published, and only affects his derivative
work, no other derivative work from the original or from his derivative.
It is a situation equally fair to everyone involved, based on the
assumption that no author owe something to earlier authors.

> This does not stop you from quoting, parodying, modifying, etc., the work in 
> any way as long as the original work is available under a libre license.

Indeed.  You are just stopped from quoting, parodying and modifying
without giving compulsory credits.  But you must worry not only about
pragmatic issues, but also the educational ones.  Thus, published works
must not be only a tool to construct a free and cooperative society but
a tool to educate people on how to build it.  The tool should be built
in self-consistence, in accordance with its purpose.  People should
learn the real meaning of altruism in a society that worth fighting for.

> At the same time it is a crucial tool of rewarding brilliance and creativity.

The reward of an author is the work well done; the contribution he made
for a better society and for his personal growth.  Recognition that
comes from the wish to be recognized and from the unjust power to
enforce people to recognize cannot sustain a cooperative society.  The
just, proper, pure and right recognition will naturally come from people
that benefits from a brilliant and creative work.

-- 
 ,= ,-_-. =.  Bruno Félix Rezende Ribeiro (oitofelix) [0x28D618AF]
((_/)o o(\_)) There is no system but GNU;
 `-'(. .)`-'  Linux-libre is just one of its kernels;
     \_/      All software should be free as in freedom;

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