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

From: Thomas Harding
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 22:39:54 +0200
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux i686; rv:10.0.12) Gecko/20130116 Icedove/10.0.12

Le 04/06/2013 16:35, Bruno Félix Rezende Ribeiro a écrit :
>> 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.
I disagree, but on one point : "intellectual property" should be called
"artistic property". An idea is a "thema", where eg. a play is an
implementation of that thema.

For example, there is an infinitude of ways to re-write "Tristan and
Isolde" (and that's well-done :).

"intellectual property" has been (lawyed?) around the 17th century :
  * to allow authors to be funded
  * to allow authors to control their work (French: avoir le droit de
regard sur...)

So, that rights has been twisted, not in favor of authors but in favor
of publishers or RIAA and alike.

GPL, Creative Commons, ... all that kind of licenses gives back
"artistic property" to the authors and contributors, in sense of
"publicity of their names".

Even technical, a work is a form of expression. They are well-known
persons like Donald Knuth, Dennis M. Ritchie, Korn, Richard Stallman,
Linus Torvalds... All of them are known not only for their work but also
their opinions.

But who would care of their opinion (and most of these persons has
different well-known positions) if their work were not known as theirs,
even improved by others?

> 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.
/true/ for mathematics (and in France, caves have an "inventeur" --
inventor) :)

Theorems: Thales, Pythagore, ...
Caves: "la grotte Chauvet", ...
> 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.

*P O S I T I V E*

> 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.
A translation *is* a derivative work. There is no perfect translation,
because of each language semantic is different. In short: giving the
original reference is a must-of to the translator, because the
translator himself can be wrong (eg: numerous pangrams are litterally
translated :) ).

A revision is a derivative work. There can be improvements, updates,
implementations of missings. *But* some informations can be lost,
twisted, or simply rewrited wrong. Even of software, patches are
"signed", and forks (for most parts) "refers to".

A short *is* a derivative work, and alike more some informations *has*
to be lost.

A compilation *is* an original work, and generally the author is proud
to cite the names of his sources, because he had to read dozens of
thousands of pages :p

An aggregation (eg: a collage) *is* an original work. And there nobody
cares of pieces has been handled but of the great result!

>> 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.
No, even legally that kind of inclusion or derivative don't need even
the authors names, while quoting generally includes footnotes or back
notice (that's a wish of the author who quote because she refers to a
well-known one).

>> 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.
That's not obvious, in three ways:

  * some authors have several names depending on the kind of work (in
literacy, fr: "noms de plume", like "Vernon Sullivan" vs "Boris Vian,"),
  * some persons claims the work of other authors, even more paid for
the work (fr: "un nègre", in literacy, write a book for a well-known
  * some persons claims to be the author of another person's work, or
stole their synopsis (I personally knew an author of comic books who
leaved that job for that reason -- despite).
   And, yes, a synopsis is an idea.


For some persons, to be notorious is the only goal (and they should not
be), for others it's simply the just gift for their work, for others
that's a way to be heard, some wants a lot of unjustified money (and I
don't care of these ones), for the last... they don't care.

For that reasons, where *large* parts of a work are re-used, the way to
respect all that kind of persons is to give them the different licenses
they need, and the way to respect recipients (humanity) is for each kind
of license allow from a reasonable amount of "fair use" (allowing
derivatives) to a "full appropriation" (public domain, extended to
immaterial property -- France).

Humans are not as anonymous as ants, and humanity is a multitude of
individuals. I know my neighbors too :)


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