Culture vs. Copyright just happened to me. It all started when Russian researcher Dmitry Sklyarov was arrested by the FBI in 2001. The reason for the arrest was amazing. Mr. Sklyarov was giving a presentation called “eBook’s Security – Theory and Practice” at the DEF CON convention in Las Vegas, Nevada. He used a flaw in the Adobe e-book encryption as an example. Normally, businesses would pay thousands for such professional analysis that reveals a key flaw in a product, but something was not normal there. Mr. Sklyarov was arrested, accused of violating the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and put in jail!
The software development community around the world was outraged. Programmers staged street protests, started on-line discussions and “Free Dmitry” and “Free Sklyarov” campaigns. My son Ilya participated in a protest in front of the Adobe headquarters, something which affected me personally. I felt compelled to join in the discussions and became a zealous participant. Thus this book came into being. First, main ideas had been defined post-by-post, letter-by-letter. They were then composed as the diary of an exploration of “exclusive rights” and related issues. The explorers happened to be five first-graders and their teacher, the naive philosopher. They discuss different aspects of culture, its relationship to human beings and to the human condition, to civilization in general and to economics in particular. The teacher introduces questions, becomes inspired by the discussions, and writes down his own thoughts. He then develops doubts and new ideas, brings them back, delves further into discussion with the kids, and writes again . . .
Chapter 1. First Graders on the Magic Planet
In this chapter five first-graders discuss what authors and publishers are paid for. Students discover that everyone should be fine without any exclusive rights.
Chapter 2. Inquiry on the Nature of Art
Here, the teacher investigates complicated interrelations between culture, creativity, freedom of speech, etc. He comes to unexpected, but important conclusions regarding the nature of culture.
Chapter 3. Arts and Personality
This time, first, the teacher himself, and then first-graders explore interrelations between the arts and the human psyche.
Chapter 4. Culture Beyond Art
Here the teacher and the first-graders discover that elements of creativity and, consequently, culture can be found in any, even the most “non-creative” human activity.
Chapter 5. Discrepancies Between Two Worlds
The main idea, explored and developed in this chapter, is that as a rule, when things work one way in the realm of civilization, they work in the opposite way in the realm of culture.
Chapter 6. Three Models
Presented in this chapter are three scenarios which correspond to three different approaches to governing culture: the current and two hypothetical ones. The current regime proves to be the worst.
Chapter 7. On Licensing in Cultural Affairs
This chapter is devoted to the analysis of some existing licenses. Their advantages and limitations are marked out.
Addendum. Authoright License
This is an addendum where a new license is proposed. Authoright is designed to precisely correspond to the nature of culture in order to provide the best possible environment for cultural development.