I'd like to take a moment to discuss the Eldred v. Ashcroft case
. In order to do so, I must first introduce myself.
My usual screen name is "DarkStorm," which of course, was taken when I decided it was finally time to sign up less than a year ago. At the risk of enduring criticism and mockery, I feel you should know that I'm not as much of a "nerd" as, perhaps, the average slashdotter.
I have an extreme interest in open-source, free-software, copy-left, digital and fundamental rights. And while I have a great interest in computer software, my life won't be dedicated to it. I'm a web designer, which is sometimes described as an artist-nerd half breed. There's some more technical web designers, and there's some more artistic. I sit in what I consider to be the most difficult part, the middle.
I consider myself to be just as industrious as the stereotypical computer nerd. I merely produce different products. My life is dedicated to art. I learn the technical aspects neccessary to make my art (and that of others) widely available. I also learn the technical in order to add an interactive dimension to an otherwise two-dimensional piece... sometimes.
Now I must ask myself a question, in light of Eldred v. Ashcroft. If I'm right in the middle of technology vs. art (which is a poor way to frame the argument, I admit), shouldn't my position on this case be neutral?
Well, it probably should.
Yet, I assure you, it isn't. If anything I should be on Ahscroft's side, as I produce much more media in my work than assisting the development of technology. But I'm on Eldred's side.
It's quite simple. I appreciate the abilities I have today. Were I so inclined, I could immediately end this journal entry, and begin creating artistic works which, I hope, would inspire people, or help them learn, or just allow them to relax and appreciate an interesting or beautiful piece. Yet, unlike the companies which have chosen to inaccurately and falsely represent people like me, I remember something very important...
The Public Domain.
As an artist I've benefitted from the public domain two-fold. On the traditional side, I have previous art, which demonstrated techniques with which I could awe and inspire my audience. I was also inspired myself, by these works of art. Robert Frost is a good example. Many consider his poetry boring. Yet I assure you that, if you look hard enough, you'll find more turbulence than the latest, action-packed, two-hour, multi-million dollar movie in theaters today. That tiny poem says so much more. It reads the way you want it to read...
Incodently, despite its age, it still might not be legal to reprint for many years.
That's one way I've benefitted from public domain though, many older works have, indeed, inspired the artists of today. How else? The technology available itself. There's a saying in many artistic communities, well not a saying so much as a generally resounding theme. That is that one should create their vision as soon as possible so as not to lose the intent of the work. This is beneficial not only in the interest of preserving the original vision, but it allows more time for revision, thus making an even better work of art. Well technology allows many artists today to record their visions, and even revise them, quickly and easily. Hell, it would take a painter weeks to create an image of the same size and complexity of what would take me a couple hours. A lot of this high tech artistry would not be available, were it not for the proliferation of technology. Adobe's post-script is a good example of technology's high impact on and embracing of art.
For all my artistic power, being a god of my own creative universe, there are many limits. While I'm studying the guitar, I still am far from being any real producer of music. Though I can be eloquent in writing (yeah, this is some damned informal work) I'm still no Robert Frost...
But what if I had a way to make up for that?
Feel free to comment but the real content will not come until later. I thank you for visiting my little soapbox in my little corner of slashdot.