Saturday, April 24, 2010

Kill Copyright!!!!! and Open Source Everything

To warn you beforehand, this is not going to be an objective discussion on Patents and Copyright, but an emotional an polemic pleading on how Copyright and Patents are preventing Innovation and destroying new evolutionary business ideas. That Post was provoked by music DRM, Laws (eg. the new law in the UK), Lawyers, incredibly stupid ideas of the music, film and print industry that were directed to "take the step to the Internet era", incredibly stupid government officials, who have not the slightest idea of technology and are bribed by all industries (sorry for that wild blame, there are black sheep everywhere...) that claim that they are losing $1000000000 per second because of Intenet piracy, Patent Infringement discussion crap (sorry for cursing) and many other things.

The fundamental statement is: give a way the product for free and charge for services. That IS working, many SW Companies now Open Source their Code and charge for training, installation, maintenance, customisation. When something is free by default, you can reach far more people than with Software for which you need to pay a license fee. Just think of how innovation accelerating Open Source is! You develop a nice piece of Software and upload it to Sourceforge or Google Code. Now others explore your project and start using it as a central part of their project and Open Source it again. And so it goes on. But if you charge for your Software, it is pretty unlikely that this dynamic process will kick-off.

And don't think you get nothing out of your Open Source project, you'll at least get some credit, which is worth more than some money. You believe Open Source is only possible for Software right? - WRONG! Just take a look at the Arduino project or at the Make Magazine, these are prime examples of Open Source Hardware - you might also enjoy Chris Andersons article in Wired on the new industrial revolution. Ok, you might need to pay something for the wires, but thats more or less an insignificant amount.

I have a nice example: Think of, that you are a hobby engineer and that you are building stuff in your garage. As you think you are going to be a millionaire with one of your inventions you are not Open Sourcing anything. The problem, when you are not really innovative and fast, you are pretty likely to stay a frustrated hobby engineer in your garage, you may own a lot of Patents, but don't get any money out of it. Worst of all, as you want to be a millionaire and threat other hobby engineers to sue them over Patent Infringement, which we all know as one of the worlds worst crimes, you are preventing innovation.

The other side of the medal: You are a hobby engineer and building stuff in your garage. As you like Open Source stuff you document your work and put videos on YouTube, and Blog about it and you Open Source all your detail-plans and stuff on your Homepage. Now that draws a lot of attention of course, leading to that you have countless offers of Top Tech Companies. You eventually decide to accept one of those offers. Now you are a professional engineer in a company, you have a team and budget and top tools to create all your stuff. Thats exactly what Johnny Chung Lee did, you may watch his YouTube channel, he has done pretty cool stuff with the Nintendo Wii and is now working for Microsoft.

So now we know Open Source Software and Hardware is awesome. But also other forms of art can be Open Sourced. Just take music for example. You may won't get a Rock Star with your music, but as you put it under a creative commons license, other people are creating remixes and mash-ups, and through their work, your music may start to get really hip.

You may also Open Source a book. Just put it online in Blogs and let people discuss your work. I am sure you'd get inspiring comments and a lot of interaction is taking place. Writing a book completeley on your own is so 20th century, you need the discussion with your audience to create an even better book. You may give the e-Book Version away for free and let others discover your work for free. Those others may be really inspired, and thus, you are creating the same movement as with Open Source Software.

To be not completely polemic, I also want to state a bad example of Open Source, which is the GPL license, also known as the "Gnu Public Virus". If you write Software and put it under GPL, all further developments that are using parts of your Software in any way are also forced to be under GPL. I hate this, don't force people to do that, I think GPL is as bad as music DRM. I'd only create Software under a license, so that others may create another Open Source project out of it, or if they really want to they may create a commercial project out of it. That way you reach more people and if your Software is part of a Enterprise Business Suite, hey, good credit for your Software then!

In that sense, Kill Copyright!!!! and Open Source Everything!!!!!

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