August 14, 2003 · admin
I thought it would be appropriate in Lessig’s blog to discuss what led to my adoption of the Creative Commons License and the GNU General Public License for our work on the Kucinich presidential campaign.
As a good friend of many artists and engineers, I understand and support their need to make a living. As a father, I don’t believe our government has any business locking up kids for sharing files on the Internet. As a Congressman, I have taken an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States, which states very clearly in Article 1, Section 8, that “The Congress shall have Power: To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.”
“Yes, we did produce a near-perfect republic. But will they keep it? Or will they, in the enjoyment of plenty, lose the memory of freedom?” — Thomas Jefferson in a letter to John Adams
The framers knew the importance of the progress of science and useful arts. Their intention was clear. Unfortunately, corporate interests have intruded on our process of government. The overwhelming influence of political money from corporate interests has corrupted the ability of Congress to protect science and the arts. Today, much of our science and useful arts is coming forth from sources independent of monopolies, thanks to people like you. Yet Congress continues to try to limit certain activities of inventors and artists in order to preserve corporate power and domination. We must, once again, move to reclaim the promise inherent in Article 1, Section 8.
In my case, I have chosen the free content and free software licenses because I believe they will promote these important goals better than more restrictive “proprietary” licenses. On my presidential campaign, we are currently developing a policy requesting that our supporters license their works to us and others under free license as well. This is valuable because it will provide a body of work to be used by grassroots activists to create their own tools to promote individual and community based expressions of democracy. For example, anyone will be able to take photos, video, audio, or software and reuse it to create their own materials — without hiring an attorney to negotiate rights (sorry Larry). In this spirit, feel free to rip, mix, and burn my work here.
This is what the American Revolution was all about!
Dennis J. Kucinich
Des Moines, Iowa