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The Gray Era Of Copyright

I had an idea of what the different creative common licenses were since I became a member of Flickr, and had to download pictures of the 35w bridge collapse, and understood them to a certain extent but not fully until I found a picture that I wanted to use for my 3672 Project Design and Development class. My team was designing a website, brochure, menu, and promotional cards for a bar we were proposing to build. We wanted to name the bar MOJO's, and we needed a logo, so I searched on Flickr and found a picture that looked like a MOJO man. I noticed the attribution symbol next to the authors picture. I really wanted to use it so I blogged to him and said, "hi.. i am designing a website for a project in my class... it is not going to be a real up loadable website...but was wondering if i could use this picture as the logo for a fake restaurant called MOJO'S? He replied, "no problems make sure to send me the link when you're done, cheers." I thought wow, that was easy. However from the readings Bound By Law, it came to my attention immediately that there was a definite gray area between knowing what material is in the public domain and when you could assert fair use on materials. As Akiko was trying to make a meaningful documentary it was either asserting fair use, trying to find the rights owners and ask for permission, or overdubbing it with music that is in the public domain, which seemed ludacris to the scenarios where the music meant a big deal to the scene. I couldn't believe how vicious some of the copyright controversies had gotten.

I think for our wiki we should use the attribution license, because peer production is definitely expanding. In the Wikipedia readings for this week, I felt that Tapscott thoroughly investigated the reasons why peer production will inevitably out-source development from traditional firms, by stating the reason of "self-selection". "When people voluntarily self-select for creative, knowledge-intensive tasks they are more likely than managers to choose tasks for which they are uniquely qualified" (Wikinomics, pg. 69). Linux originator Linus Torvalds asserts in compliance to self-selection that, "self-selecting communities of people in constant communication have a higher probability of matching the best people to the right tasks than a single firm with a much smaller set of resources to work with" (Wikinomics, pg. 69). This is why peer-production will change the way we publish information.


Self-selecting makes complete sense... people innately know what they are good at because it's what is easy/easier for them to do.

I thought the "self-selection" argument is a pretty powerful one too. Nonetheless, I was compelled to see if I could think of exceptions: I've been involved in group projects both professionally and non in which people volunteer to take on different tasks. Occasionally, I've noticed people enthusiastically volunteer for jobs they might really like but either lack the experience or skill to do very well. Depending on the situation, the results can be be frustrating to somewhat disastrous. How would peer production compensate for this type of situation? Or is that already how Wikipedia happens? Or, might it if payment is being issued to those participating? Would remuneration would weed out poor quality contributions?

Secondly, although I believe peer production can work well for numerous tasks, I can't help but think it might not work very well for some others. The examples that comes to mind right away are creative writing or maybe tasks that must follow a rigid protocol. One the authors we read suggested that wikis are a bad idea for writing novels, for example (sorry can't remember author's name). Maybe this goes without says, but what about things like testing blood samples for disease.

I also wonder how this model would work for services -- or am I thinking too narrowly about its application?