Colleague gave me this at lunch and please I want to spend the rest of the day reading it.

@platypus For the curious: The Copyright Thing Doesn’t Work Here

The intersection of Western intellectual property law and traditional knowledge in Africa.... [The book] focuses on the appropriation and protection of adinkra and kente cloth in order to examine the broader implications of the use of intellectual property law to preserve folklore and other traditional forms of knowledge.

@dredmorbius @platypus this made me think a lot about copyright & intellectual property this morning…

…and how it's a way to control what cannot be controlled in the modern world:

so much of our work these days happens in our heads, and the machines necessary are much more affordable to workers

so as capitalists cannot control the means of production, they must control the output, and so workers are made to sign contracts where they give up all their intellectual property and copyright, etc…

@hirojin Oh hell yes this.

Workers assign their usefruct rights, their *moral* rights (claims to authorship), in not only the work they perform *for* their employer, but very often all work performed *during the course of employment*.

And then assign their rights to compete, to seek alternate emplyment, and to utilise skills gained during emplyment, whether through the actions of the employer (fat chance: training is dead) or through independent study and research.


@hirojin @dredmorbius And this book is a fascinating case in that in Ghana, individual creators are allowed copyright to their own work BUT Ghana holds rights to anything which in the US would be in public domain.

Which is because other countries (US, UK, China, Korea, Singapore, etc.) tend to exploit, commercialize, and profit from Ghanian culture and they consider it resource extraction. So traditional culture has to be licensed & paid back to the state. IF license granted.

@hirojin @dredmorbius the author talks about how this comes from trying to force completely non-Western Euro cultural practices (community as guardian of patterns, etc., non-mass-production economy meaning no profit motive to copy patterns... more pride in preserving/producing one's own) into a law model not built for them.

Which they do because they're participating in an exploitative global society which won't respect their patrimony if they don't put it in Western Euro terms.

@hirojin @dredmorbius but of course the upshot is a hot mess. And not always enforceable anyway.

While I'm a huge fan of the public domain, I'm also totally sympathetic to their decision to say "nope, this isn't public domain, this is community-cared-for knowledge and we don't want it exploited so we'll use your tools to stop you from doing something that's against our mores to begin with" -- using the tools available.

@platypus @dredmorbius (i am, as always, trying to envision how to apply this to FLOSS… perhaps i should just read the book‽)

@hirojin @dredmorbius yeah a coworker approached me with "Ruth would you like a book about copyright" 😐 "and how it applies to Ghanian textiles and patterns and culture" :grabby_hands:

@hirojin My preferred option would be to make createive works openly available, publicly funded, using a highly progressive wealth+income indexed tax, and compensated on a BMI/GMI + scaled performance * contribution award.

That's politicially infeasible, though I'll champion it.

The alternative I'm kicking around the is a "Robin Hood License", which is free for most but increasingly expensive for specific individuals and corporations, with a large fraction to tax authorities.



@hirojin So, for most individuals, there's some nominal charge, but also a (greater) nominal credit, allowing free use of the work.

For organisational use, there are a set of schedules, varying by industrial sector (SIC/NAICS, etc.) where any use above a certain level incurs a payment obligation.

Payments are to a combination of the author, a selected (possibly set of) charitable organisations, and tax authorities. The latter to create an actionable obligation, in part, but...



@hirojin ... also to address in advance tax obligations for the creator(s).

Details to be hashed out, but it's the nugget of an idea.



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