Comments on: on the challenge of moral rights Blog, news, books Tue, 10 Oct 2017 06:01:00 +0000 hourly 1 By: Milford Realtors Mon, 13 May 2013 21:30:06 +0000 I couldn’t refrain from commenting. Perfectly written!

By: custom Reebok Nano 2.0 Wed, 01 May 2013 18:42:57 +0000 I am regular reader, how are you everybody? This
paragraph posted at this site is genuinely pleasant.

By: Branko Collin Thu, 10 Mar 2005 13:54:00 +0000 Do not let their rottenness infect you. In The Lord of the Rings, Saruman the White wished to rid the world of evil. While considering the problem, he realized that the most efficient method to achieve that end was to control the world. By following this path, he became as evil as the evil he was fighting.

The Good and Evil in Tolkien’s world are different from the ones in ours. Any argument that refers to the value systems in LotR as if they could be wholly transplanted to our world is therefor void.

By: Ryan Wed, 09 Mar 2005 20:20:12 +0000 Of course there is a difference. One is an implementation and one is a thought.

By: LuYu Wed, 09 Mar 2005 14:23:23 +0000 I cannot believe I am about to do this, but i just have to challenge PJ on her post. Before I start, I just have to state that Groklaw is great, and I think that any one who believes in freedom in any shape or form owes PJ a great debt. Her research at the very least embarrassed evil companies like SCO and at most changed the outcome legal trials.

Having said that, here is what PJ said:

But it is precisely in the area of moral rights that CC fails, and I wish someone would come up with a workaround. Here’s what I mean: there have been a couple of folks who dislike me or Groklaw who have deliberately set up mirrors of Groklaw’s articles with the publicly expressed intention of diverting readers from Groklaw. They surround the articles of mine with articles of their own all about how awful Groklaw is and/or my policies, blah blah. At the moment there isn’t a thing I can do to stop it. I hope one of you brainiacs will come up with a way to handle situations like that. It should never be that folks can use anyone’s work abusively on purpose to try to harm the author. That’s the kind of meanness that the law is born for. Surely there is a way to craft a license so that the author retains the right to selectively terminate the license, perhaps based on pre-stated violations, even in a noncommercial setting.

There are a lot of things that I wanted to respond to in this discussion, but this comment requires my immediate attention. If I waisted my effort by duplicating any of the responses following PJ’s post, it is because I had to say something about it before I continued with my study of the discussion. Finally, this is not a troll. I state here that this is a reaction to PJ’s post, and is not written solely to create an argument. If it sounds strong, that is because she has advocated something that threatens everything that I believe I have been arguing against with copyright.

<rant mode=”on”>

Can you really be serious? You of all people should know that copyright was not created to censor free speech. Do you think that Groklaw is not speech but a work of creativity? Guess again. Groklaw is a forum for people to voice their political views. The views expressed are primarily yours because it is your site. However, you should realize that if you were having this same discussion in a room, and not in cyberspace, it would be entirely speech. In this instance, you are actually, considering the use of copyright laws to stop people from saying bad things about you in an argument you have picked with them. I am in no way defending them, but when you do what is right, you should realize that those in the wrong will fight back. Whether or not they play fair, they have a right to voice their opinions — even about you. If you believe those statements are false, there are always slander and libel laws to protect you.

So, you say they use your words against you, eh? Guess what: that is precisely what you do to them. What would the world be like if we were not able to publish the statements of SCO execs because they had “selective license[s]” that could be used to control your right to reproduce their speech? This control you talk of would be far more powerful in the hands of your enemies, and the fact that this idea is coming from you is frightening.

So they use your words against you. Big deal. You should be proud. You are having an effect, and you have managed not to get sued by these litigious miscreants. If they did not use your words, you could be pretty confident that they did not care what you had to say. Their insults are nothing less than a badge of honor which you should wear proudly. Many in your audience wish they had the influence that you have.

Do not let their rottenness infect you. In The Lord of the Rings, Saruman the White wished to rid the world of evil. While considering the problem, he realized that the most efficient method to achieve that end was to control the world. By following this path, he became as evil as the evil he was fighting. Is this what you want? Your enemies are greed and selfishness personified. Do you want to emulate them? Please do not. You are too important to those of us who have not gone over to the dark side.

If copyright can be used to censor speech and discussion, how will the first amendment matter? We are rapidly moving into a time where all speech is cached, and that speech will fall under the scope of copyright. In the future, everything you say will be governed by the law. If that does not sound like 1984, what does? Do not let these irritating little rats goad you into unconsciously helping them.


I am so tired of people thinking that copyright is about control. Copyright is about an incentive. That incentive is not control. That incentive is not guaranteed profit. That incentive is temporary protection from competition. There is nothing more to copyright. And there should be nothing more.

By: Joseph Pietro Riolo Wed, 09 Mar 2005 08:26:14 +0000 To Ryan,

Is there really any difference between building a new work based on the ideas that inspire you and building a new work based on a textual work that is based on the ideas? The only explanation for your attempt to differ them is that the former is not fixed in any tangible form while the latter is fixed in any tangible form such as book.

In Ivory Tower, you are required to give attribution to anything that you copy regardless of what form it is. Else, you will be accused of plagiarism. If you copy an idea, thought, theory, or concept from someone else or from a source that is not yours, should you give attribution for the source? Ivory Tower says yes. But, there is no true freedom of communication and knowledge in Ivory Tower. Ivory Tower is very obsessive with “credit where credit is due” that it is willing to restrain the freedom. We should not listen to Ivory Tower and we should not let Ivory Tower dictate how we
should communicate.

Assuming that you do not believe that one needs to provide attribution for the ideas that inspire the person, the next problem is how you define a derivative. How much of work is considered as a derivative. If I copy only one sentence from an old book, is it a derivative? One paragraph? One chapter? 10% of the old book? 20%? 50%? 75%?

Everyone has different opinion on attribution. I like to give attribution to the public domain works but I would not give attribution to the ideas that come from the works that still have copyrights (except when I am in Ivory Tower because I could not afford to lose degree). Also, if an expression in a copyrighted work is not copyrightable due to the Merger Doctrine, I will not give attribution. Some authors and artists are really 100% control freak that they want attribution for everything in their works including the ideas within the works. (But then, they are just hypocrite for they do not even give attribution for the ideas that inspire them.) Then, there are people who are control freak in lesser degree. We should not let the freedom of communication be in held hostage by them. Once copyrights in their works expire, their control in any form over the works cease. That includes attribution. After that, people should have the flexibility in deciding whether and when they should give attribution.

Joseph Pietro Riolo

Public domain notice: I put all of my expressions in this
comment in the public domain.

By: Ryan Mon, 07 Mar 2005 20:18:54 +0000 Being inspired by previous work you’ve been exposed to is not the same as creating a derivative of a specific piece of work.

By: Joseph Pietro Riolo Mon, 07 Mar 2005 06:57:59 +0000 To Ryan,

Believe is a very strong word. For the sake of
the freedom of communication, yes, I do. I feel
that it is best for the creative authors and
artists to be unfettered without chains of

Before you brand me as a heretic, just look at
many authors and artists. They copied many elements
from the public domain works and yet, they claimed
that they are their own. Witness J. K. Rowling
with her Harry Potter stories. No author
lives on an island. It is just the fact of life
that keeping track of attributions will retard
and restrain the creative process of authors
and artists.

It is no wonder why the public domain is so
unpopular with the authors and artists even
though they hypocritically rely on it as the
sources for their works.

Joseph Pietro Riolo

Public domain notice: I put all of my expressions in this
comment in the public domain.

By: Ryan Sun, 06 Mar 2005 20:53:17 +0000 Do you believe that a film studio, for example, should be able to take an obscure story from the public domain, create a move from it and claim that work solely as their own?

Perhaps I’m missing something here, but that is wrong on any level.

By: Crosbie Fitch Sat, 05 Mar 2005 15:02:47 +0000 “Requiring correction attribution” is not the same as “Requiring that attribution be noted or brought to anyone’s attention”.

It may be more precisely expressed as “requiring that any explicit or implicit attribution that is conveyed with an artwork or its context is truthful”.
That means that if a work is presented in a gallery where it is implicit that there are a variety of authors, then each work does not need any attribution conveyed. However, if because the majority of works were authored by one artist, it became implicit that all works had the same author, then it should be made clear to the public that this was not the case – unless this could be demonstrated to be obviously unambiguous, e.g. due to the nature or fame of the works involved.

An artist’s right to truth, does not confer a ‘right to promotion’. Nor does it confer a right to prohibit unfavourable derivatives – merely that where there is a danger that the original artist may be incorrectly implicated as the author of the derivative, this must be prevented.

By: Crosbie Fitch Sat, 05 Mar 2005 14:32:58 +0000 FAO Andrew Boysen:
As to something to put in place of an EULA to encourage software development, how about this:

Remember that Open Source does not require that you do not charge for the software, only that the source code is freely copyable.

By: blaze Sat, 05 Mar 2005 08:56:36 +0000 Hey Rob..

Thanks for pointing that out in 2.0

I didn’t find it (it’s buried in the text of the legal document, which is silly)

Unfortunately, it’s not very effective.

For one, they can add a “nofollow” tag to the link which tells the search engines *not* to spider the link. There are a large number of other effective ways to ensure that page rank is not transfered.

The key is, the search engines need to understand the attribution.

My suggestion is something like this

“a creativecommons=true href=”parent article”>Parent Article”/a”

With statements about not changing color or doing anything which will restrict search engines from finding the URL.

By: David Sat, 05 Mar 2005 03:39:08 +0000 To Joseph,

I must admit that I’m in two minds on the concept of natural rights, but the idea that authorship confers right of attibution and integrity seems philosophically sound to me. From the viewpoint of practical use though, I admit that it can be a pain, and there’s a very high potential for abuse. Personally I don’t think I’d ever use my moral rights, except in very particular circumstances in which the aims of my work are undermined by the actions of others, but I’m sure other people might not be so restrained. What is more, perhaps what I consider severe abuse of the integrity of my work is considered by others to be just mere derivation, and I’m sure an agreement and a line on when integrity is damaged is very hard to formalize. Still, if I wrote a great symphony I’d hate to hear it played on a ring-tone.

By: Joseph Pietro Riolo Fri, 04 Mar 2005 16:25:03 +0000 To Ryan,

It is not just one level of attribution that you
have to worry about. You will have to worry about
many levels of attributions. Let me quote
from two sources:

(start of quotation)
You know, for a very highly complex, iterative
product like a car, you might have 300 pages of
credits in the owner’s manual before you even
get to how do you turn on the key under the
alternative universe of credits that is completely
different from the derivative work credits
required by the Copyright Act. (David A. Gerber,
during oral argument on April 2, 2003 in
_Dastar v. Fox_. See
(end of quotation)

(start of quotation)
We do not think the Lanham Act requires this
search for the source of the Nile and all its
tributaries. (Near the end of the opinion in
_Dastar v. Fox_. See
(end of quotation)

If you truly believe in right of attribution, then,
you should have provided attribution for eleven
random thoughts that you listed in your previous post.
Then, you have to go backward asking people where they
get their ideas from. At what point do you stop
getting attributions?

Providing attribution is nice and boosts up authors’
ego and is fun for those who like to trace the
rivers of ideas just like genealogy. But, it
should not be a legal obligation. Just imagine
what the world will look like if every quilter,
toy maker, doll maker, recipe maker, every writer
in newspaper, and so on are legally required to
provide attribution for the sources that make
up their new works. Newspapers will have to give
more space for the long list of attributions.
Quilter will have to attach a tag containing the
long list of attributions to quilt. You will
have to carry with you index cards to make sure
that you write down the source every time you
take anything from the source. In the long
run, freedoms of press and speech start to
lose their vibrancy.

Joseph Pietro Riolo

Public domain notice: I put all of my expressions in this
comment in the public domain.

By: Joseph Pietro Riolo Fri, 04 Mar 2005 15:50:47 +0000 Just for information for David and others…

Certainly, I don’t believe in natural rights in
respect to the authors’ and artists’ works. The
natural rights were dreamed up by the authors
and artists long time ago to justify their control
(read: monopoly) over their works. It is not a
surprise that I find it so repulsive that I can’t
ever alienate my moral rights in the countries
that forbid such act. It seems like that I am
committing a crime against natural rights and
against the world of authorship if I attempt to
alienate my moral rights. It is just so dumb
(not you personally, it is the concept of natural
rights itself).

I just have an idea. What if I write anonymously.
Will there be no moral rights for anonymous works?
Or, are there really moral rights for “Unknown

Joseph Pietro Riolo

Public domain notice: I put all of my expressions in this
comment in the public domain.

By: Joseph Pietro Riolo Fri, 04 Mar 2005 15:42:12 +0000 To PJ,

It seems that you learned a hard lesson about
your generosity.

Like many things, your generosity and Creative
Commons license can be used in both good and bad
ways. This is no strange to the open source code.
Bad people use the open source code to commit
crimes against people such as drug trafficking,
child pornography, tracking dissenters, and so on.
But, just because minority misuse open source code
does not mean that the open source licenses must
change to forbid the uses that the authors do not
find acceptable.

It is your choice to be generous in letting people
to mirror your works and distribute your works via
a Creative Commons license. But, you have to
accept the reality that if you are generous to a
group of people but are not generous to a smaller
group of people, you are closer to the role of
censor. Freedom is always a double-edged sword.
Take a pencil as an example. You have total
freedom in using a pencil at your home. You can
use it to write a letter that will cheer up your
friend who is depressed. Or, you can use it to
write a letter to insult your old classmate. Just
because you can misuse a pencil does not mean that
pencil manufacturer must make up a license that
comes with every pencil promising that you will
not use it in any way that is harmful to people.

Think for a moment what the Creative Commons would
look like if licenses were modified to allow the
authors to void licenses for the users that do not
abide by the authors’ moral standard. The communality
in the Creative Commons will be less when the authors
in the commons start to watch over the users’
shoulders to make sure that they are behaving in
accord to their own standards. Eventually, Creative
Commons will be just like any other organizations
that police over the users’ behavior.

As I said before, you need to learn to ignore the
minority so that the majority can enjoy your works.
If you don’t like that, don’t be too generous and
come up with a license that is more restrictive than
the Creative Commons licenses.

Joseph Pietro Riolo

Public domain notice: I put all of my expressions in this
comment in the public domain.

By: Rob Myers Fri, 04 Mar 2005 10:41:04 +0000 Please explain how accurate attribution can harm freedom of speech and Press in any way?

It could cause problems when a work (such as a wiki) has hundreds of contributors and some of the work is to be published in print. See the BSD “Obnoxious Advertising Clause” for why this could be a limitation on (FSF-style) freedom.

The real problem (for copyleft, in other respects it is very useful) is Integrity. This allows you to complain about your work being arbitrarily mistreated. Which will be problematic when you are the one doing the “mistreating”.

By: pj Fri, 04 Mar 2005 02:03:40 +0000 Thanks everyone for thinking about this, and for the suggestions. I don’t know Prof. Lessig, but some of you may. If so, perhaps you could bring this to his attn? I feel odd emailing someone I don’t know and someone who has already cried uncle with respect to email overload.

By: Ryan Thu, 03 Mar 2005 22:18:36 +0000 Just to clarify: I’m not arguing, I’m asking because I can’t for the life of me see how requiring attribution can limit any form of derivative creativity or future usage of work.

And in fact, as a creator I find it appauling that someone may even consider NOT attributing the original author in a derivative or reprinting, etc.

By: Ryan Thu, 03 Mar 2005 22:14:04 +0000 PJ,

Given that new information, surely their practice falls outside the scope of any copyright etc… Tricking people into thinking their site is Groklaw sounds almost fraudulent to me, as a layman.


By: Ryan Thu, 03 Mar 2005 22:06:45 +0000 On Attribution:

Please explain how accurate attribution can harm freedom of speech and Press in any way?

In my mind attribution refers to correctly indicating who created the item.

eg, you reprint something you include “original authored by Fred Smith, 1972, originally appeared in the Daily Gazette”

eg, you create a derivative, you include “based on ‘blah’ originally created by Frank Nerk, 1984″

How does this limit anything?

By: David Thu, 03 Mar 2005 09:34:49 +0000 To Josepth:

Moral rights, unlike copyright, are natural rights, at least as understood in Europe. They emanate from the inherent act of authorship itself, they are not a government grant. That is why they are perpetual, &c &c. Now you can make the case that you don’t believe an act of authorship confers these rights, and then we have nothing further to talk about, because the whole construct of moral rights is based on this assumption. However, if you do accept that authorship does confer some natural rights, then the government cannot have anything to do with their grant, and because they are rights that essentially derive from authorship they cannot be transfered, any more than you could transfer your right of paternity for a child. That is why I think moral rights are and should be inalienable (because a contract can’t oblige you in matters of inherent rights) and perpetual (because the rights are achorded to you by the act of authorship and not by an act of government).

An unfortunate consequence of this paradigm is the Berne convention position that authorship per se creates copyright also, which is in my view a different issue altogether, since I don’t think economic rights are natural rights of the author.

By: Rob Myers Thu, 03 Mar 2005 07:45:44 +0000 What people do isn’t take an article or two or three and criticize them. They mirror *all* my articles in totality, nearly 2,000 articles, in effect duplicating my site, minus the comments, and then they mislead the public into thinking that it is Groklaw. That is their stated intention, to misdirect folks looking for Groklaw on Google. Their expressed hope is that my readership will go down.

Erk. OK, that’s different. There’s nothing wrong with mirrors, and malice is one part of freedom, but then so is being able to tackle it.

If that is their stated aim, you need to redirect people to Groklaw, and get the honeypot sites working for you to drive your readership up.

As an aside, is there anything you can do with Google, either by contacting them or by using the sort of tricks that sites use to boost their ranking (but use them defensively)?

A number of possibilities spring to mind for the licensing:

1. Do use the linkback URL that the 2.0 licenses allow you to require licensees to display with the work. This will identify that the files aren’t on their original site, undermining the mirrors’ ability to pretend that they are the original source.
So each article would *have* to have the following text with it:

(c) Copyright 2005 PJ
This document is licensed under a Creative Common License.

If they don’t include the URL they are in breach of the license and they have no right to use the content.

2. Remember that you can license the same work multiple times differently. So you can provide the article on your website in their raw form all rights reserved, and then provide a redistributable version that is CC-BY-NC-ND with an added disclaimer or, as blaze suggests, extra attribution in-text.

3. Do assert the NC term. This site, for example, listing Groklaw articles alongside a Google ad include breaks NC (IANAL!):

4. Groklaw’s comments are a value-added resource for the articles. Make clear in the redistributable version of the article that the comments (and your responses) can only be found at , and that the reader is missing out on any mirrors.

None of these are particularly strong solutions on their own, but combining a few of them should work against the honeypot sites whilst working for your original and not harming anyone who mirrors individual articles.

By: blaze Wed, 02 Mar 2005 18:48:18 +0000 argh! Must preview

It should read

“The solution is simple – attribution must be “a href=http://groklaw” in the body of the text. Ideally, it could have an attribute like “creativecommons=true” .. for example

“a href=”http://groklaw” creative commons=true>” Original Author “a>”

etc etc

By: blaze Wed, 02 Mar 2005 18:46:00 +0000 PJ!

There is a solution. The solution is something we should bring to the attention of Lessig and the CC folks.

The solution is simple – attribution must be a in the body of the text. Ideally, it could have an attribute like “creativecommons=true” .. for example

Original Author

It’s geeky, but it *works*. The reason is how the search engines decide which websites are more important than others. Because people are linking to your page, your website will become more important in the eyes of all the search engines.

This is very similar to the attribution you find in PHD papers. Professors are considered important because they are attributed.

Creative Commons *must* specifically allow for this type of attribution. A type of Web CC License which enforces anyone who quotes your contents *must* strongly link the original web page or the webpage specified (in your case, you probably want everyone to hit your front page).

Interestingly enough, it starts to also become a profit center as websites which have similar content will *purchase* advertising links from you at a much higher rate because they see your website as an expert in the field.

In the particular case of groklaw, this might not be done because of various motivations. (Though, lets face it, you might write a book or leverage your fame in other ways.. but, it’s all good. More power to you – you totally deserve it all)

But in the case of someone who is working for himself, they could really leverage the attribution financiallyl in a way that makes sense for themselves.

I really encourage you to write to lessig and motivate him to add this type of language to his documents. It’s a very powerful, and I feel fundamentally, important way of handling attribution.