The News

Kevin Kelly On Public Domain

Kevin Kelly On Public Domain: “It is in the commons that ideas blossom. When scientific discoveries are shared, they can be accelerated. When the blueprints of inventions are shared (and not hidden) new inventions spring up faster. Walt Disney made his fortune by reworking public domain fairytales. Because the stories were already in the commons, he was able to re-interpret them into modern forms. As many others also did. In recent years, Disney has begun to create new fairytales, but they are not shared in the commons. Even after the death of Disney, when he can no longer be incentivized, his stories are given a monopoly. The maximum gain to society would come if those stories, too, were returned into the public domain commons. But ironically, Disney has been the chief force in preventing copyrights in the U.S. to return to the commons. Rather than concede there are multiple origins, our current system rewards the first person who claims to be the first. But the ownership we bestow on the first to claim originality it is rather arbitrary, although it does indeed spur more effort.  A better way of accounting is to admit that all ideas and intellectual goodness is actually born from the commons and into the commons, from the pool of all that is known. That is, ideas arise from the commonwealth of all knowledge and current ideas. Without this commonwealth of knowledge, there would be no new ideas. However, if no one is rewarded for working on bringing new ideas to life, then far few would try. So even though the reward for originality is arbitrary, it is still useful. My proposal then is that we continue to award monopolies briefly on those who claim first rights (while acknowledging it is basically arbitrary). So for a brief period of time we remove this idea from the commons and bestow a monopoly upon it. The ‘owner’ has exclusive rights for that monopoly period. But as soon as possible it is returned to the commons where great things can happen. A novel thing is born from the commons, and it is returned to the commons as soon as possible. In the meantime to encourage future creation we give it a temporarily limited monopoly… For best results for society, this monopoly should be as minimal as possible in its duration and privileges. ‘Soon as possible’ is the key phrase. No IP should last a century, no matter what. In our fast-moving world, 20 years of protection is more than enough for most ideas. Another step is to emphasize the rights of monopolies should have corresponding duties. Those duties might include publication, dissemination, education, APIs, platform tools, or many other tools that would facilitate its use when it returns to the commons.”

No Responses to “Kevin Kelly On Public Domain”

Comments are closed.

MCN Commentary & Analysis See All

THB #93: The Batman (no spoilers)

David Poland | March 6, 2022

THB #76: 9 Weeks To Oscar

David Poland | January 26, 2022

THB #73: Netflix Is Chilled

David Poland | January 24, 2022

The News Curated by Ray Pride See All


May 1, 2022

The New York Times

"Netflix, the great disrupter whose algorithms and direct-to-consumer platform have forced powerful media incumbents to rethink their economic models, now seems to need a big strategy change itself. It got me thinking about the simple idea that my film and TV production company Blumhouse is built on: If you give artists a lot of creative freedom and a little money upfront but a big stake in the movie’s or TV show’s commercial success, more often than not the result will be both commercial (the filmmakers are incentivized to make films that will resonate with audiences) and artistically interesting (creative freedom!). This approach has yielded movies as varied as Get Out (made for $4.5 million, with worldwide box office receipts of more than $250 million), Whiplash (made for $3.3 million, winner of three Academy Awards), The Invisible Man (made for $7 million, earned more than $140 million) and Paranormal Activity (made for $15,000, grossed more than $190 million).From the beginning, the most important strategy I used to persuade artists to work with me was to make radically transparent deals: We usually paid the artists (“participants” in Hollywood lingo) the absolute minimum allowable by union contracts upfront, with the promise of healthy bonuses based on actual box office results—instead of the opaque 'percentage points' that artists are usually offered. Anyone can see box office results immediately, so creators don’t quarrel with the payouts. In fact, when it comes time for an artist to collect a bonus based on box office receipts, I email a video clip of myself dropping the check off at FedEx to the recipient."
Jason Blum Sees Room For "Scrappier" Netflix

The New York Times | April 30, 2022

"As a critic Gavin was entertaining, wry, questioning, sensitive, perceptive"
Critic-Filmmaker Gavin Millar Was 84; Films Include Cream In My Coffee, Dreamchild

April 29, 2022

The New York Times

Disney Executive Geoff Morrell Out After Less Than Four Months

The New York Times | April 29, 2022

The Video Section See All

Mike Mills, C’mon C’mon

David Poland | January 24, 2022

The Podcast Section See All