Checking your phone on Hogmanay eh? This piece from 2013 on the amen break just popped up in my twitter feed via openculture.com and got me thinking of challenges ahead (I also love the fact that the talk is a disposable demo pressing itself which is kind of a circular thing etc.)

When I was a kid I spent a of of time working with Dover books. They had fantastic clip art and materials you could trace or cut out to fuel your visual project. I didn’t know this at the time but Dover were pioneering a Linux-style business model built on the richness of the commons.

This from wikipedia:

Dover Publications, also known as Dover Books, is an American book publisher founded in 1941 by Hayward Cirker and his wife, Blanche. It primarily publishes reissues, books no longer published by their original publishers. These are often, but not always, books in the public domain. The original published editions may be scarce or historically significant.

This is a bit dry sounding, but in plain English, Dover’s model was built on investing time and effort curating public domain works to make them useful, in effect creating new value which in turn benefits illustrators and art directors. When I was 13 this meant primarily victorian artifacts grouped by pattern etc.

As 2017 starts, I would expect my kids to be able to freely manipulate the creative works of the previous century, fueling their own creative sparks.

The most telling example of this is learning to animate or draw cartoons. Why can’t my kids hack and mix and match Disney cartoons? Why is Mikey Mouse not in the public domain just as the commercial designs of the 1870s were in the creative commons of my own childhood?

(and just so you have the link, this is Nate Harrison’s audio installation from 2004)

I guess thinking about the importance of the commons, the great work of the EFF and the tragedy of most of 20th century creation being locked into ludicrously long-term commercial copyright seems like something good to be doing in the wee hours of 2017…