Fred, great to have your post on the role of museums and their moral obligations.
As I have already posted some thoughts on that aspect here (subject: copyright - public domain) I just want to turn back quickly to the posts from Dennis and Rob before I forget to do so.
The article referred to by Dennis includes the following: "At issue in the case, Golan v. Holder, No. 10-545, is whether Congress can remove works from the public domain and place them back under copyright protection. It did so in 1994 to align American policy with an international copyright treaty, restricting access to books by H.G. Wells, films by Alfred Hitchcock, and artwork by Pablo Picasso, to name just a few famous examples.
A lawyer for the plaintiffs, Anthony Falzone, argued on Wednesday that lawmakers violated the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment and Copyright Clause by yanking away millions of works that had been public property for years. "
In their book ‘Hacktivism and Cyberwars: Rebels with a Cause’ Jordan & Taylor refer to the hacker Agent Steal who while in prison published ‘Everything a Hacker Needs to Know About Getting Busted by the Feds”. Jordan & Taylor describe how the theme of the article “centres around the notion that the legal system, like any other system, is there to be hacked” (p. 122). Agent Steal advises that “The criminal justice system is a game to be played [...] And if you have to be a player, you would be wise to learn the rules of engagement” (p. 122).
With the comments of Agent Steal in mind in terms of 'hacking' copyright, I am interested in the distinction drawn by Jordan & Taylor (whilst acknowledging the difference between hacktivism and hacking) between digitally correct hacktivism and mass action hacktivism. The former has at its core free flows of information whereas the latter are prepared to challenge the freedom of expression by some in the interests of empowering others.
Should the restrictions of copyright be condemned outright as an anathema to the free flow of information and the freedom of expression? Or is it possible to stop short of a complete rejection of the use of copyright to commodify the expression of ideas, in the interests of authorial rights for example, without becoming complicit in the calcification of culture?
Rob's observes that 'My experience is that people just need
to better understand what "fixed in a tangible form of expression" means'. Approached in terms of Agent Steal's comment, one benefit of a better understanding of copyright may not be more compliance but perhaps more penetrating critiques of copyright.