Science Fiction author Ursula K. Le Guin has given the anti-copyright fanatics at the Boing Boing weblog a quick refresher in authors’ rights.
The blog posted a short piece by Le Guin, erroneously slapping a Creative Commons license on it.
“This is incorrect,” wrote her representative. “Ms. Le Guin has not placed this work under such a license and retains these rights. Ms. Le Guin has not given blanket permission for everyone to copy or create derivatives (which can include film, TV adaptations, etc.),” Andrew Burt told SF author Jerry Pournelle.
Robo-bloggers who act as repeaters of Boing Boing material – vital nodes in the Hive Mind, we like to think of them – added to the confusion.
“Numerous copies of her piece have been discovered on the web and attributed to boingboing, illustrating that many people are being mislead by this incorrect application of a Creative Commons license.”
“Given Doctorow’s intense interest in issues of copyright,” added Burt, “it is easy to imagine that he has let his wishes run ahead of reality, and so committed some serious ethical and legal errors, which he might wish to begin to redress by taking the Le Guin piece off his site and putting an apology in its place.”
Boing Boing has since truncated the excerpt, but declined to apologize or remove it. There’s more details on Pournelle’s letters page here.
It’s another example of the confusion generated by Creative Commons licenses – the autistic person’s answer to a problem that doesn’t really bother anyone. If even the most dedicated, foaming-at-the-mouth Commons evangelists can’t use it properly – what hope do us mortals have?
The license-abuser, Cory Doctorow, was recently a professor at the University of Southern California – where he was lecturing students about copyright.
In its first incarnation as a print ‘zine back in the late 1980s, “bOING bOING” (as it was) was one of the most highly regarded chroniclers of cyber culture. The title was revived in blog form as a self-promotional vehicle seven years ago.
Quite a difference.