an image of an eye glowing green...

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the many or the few?

slashdot (/.) had a story today that really illustrates the gray area which harbors the current incarnation of intellectual property laws (even the concept itself and the definition of the word is in dispute). shelley batts, a grad student at university of michigan, received legal threats from wiley interscience (one of whose projects she posted about on her blog (retrospectacle (which, incidentally is a very clever name)).

her call to the global internets was met with a rally of online support and the situation quickly resolved itself (apparently, it had all been a misunderstanding...

now, whether this was really all just a simple misunderstanding, or whether this wiley group changed their tune after the topic started to gain some ip (independent press), i could not tell you for certain. but what i can tell you is that this sort of thing is important, because these technological/social/economic pressures are really building and it's gonna come to a head pretty soon.

there've been a lot of crazy scary laws passed the past few years and if we're not careful, some bad decisions will slip by, and a few people will get screwed--no one really pays too much attention. but then that stuff starts getting held up as precedent and case law, and then a whole mess of people start getting screwed. but by then, it very well might be too late.

money seems to be able to make laws that benefit the few instead of the many.

now, like i said--this is just me talking. i wasn't there, and i don't really know what happened for sure or why, but from an external perspective, my first instinct is that the right thing happened for the wrong reason.

and, truth be told, i guess i'm alright with that as long as there's always enough good people in the world (who are paying attention) to make sure that 'the right thing' _does_ happen. anyway, i'd say that this situation definitely turned out to have a good resolution, and that's a good thing.

something to think about.


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