John C. Dvorak and Ziff-Davis the attention whores

John C. Dvorak in this recent column trashes the Creative Commons license, basically because he’s too damn dense to do any research or attempt to understand anything before writing a column.

First, let me address, are magazines stooping to this level these days to attract eyeballs? All I’ve seen from major publications recently is more and more controversy over journalists who are short on research and long on opinion. LinuxWorld’s editorial staff quit in May over a controversy regarding a reporting functionally stalking PJ from Groklaw. I’ve read too many poorly researched and biased articles from Rob Enderle to count, and John Dvorak, whom I used to trust as a source of authority in the industry, has basically turned into a crackpot who exists only to draw traffic to Ziff-Davis websites. Any reporter who cannot add value to the conversation and consistently gets his facts wrong should be fired.

To address points in Dvorak’s column:

Will someone explain to me the benefits of a trendy system developed by Professor Lawrence Lessig of Stanford? Dubbed Creative Commons, this system is some sort of secondary copyright license that, as far as I can tell, does absolutely nothing but threaten the already tenuous “fair use” provisos of existing copyright law. This is one of the dumbest initiatives ever put forth by the tech community. I mean seriously dumb. Eye-rolling dumb on the same scale as believing the Emperor is wearing fabulous new clothes.

I surely will, John. Creative Commons website says:

Creative Commons defines the spectrum of possibilities between full copyright — all rights reserved — and the public domain — no rights reserved. Our licenses help you keep your copyright while inviting certain uses of your work — a “some rights reserved” copyright.

Maybe this isn’t clear enough for you. Basically, it allows me to specify a wide range of rights I’m willing to give up to the public without giving away the ones that allow me to make money from my work. This means I can allow other people to remix my work, change it, modify it, etc, but they can’t just go throw it in their ad campaign w/o compensating me for it. It does not effect fair use (which BTW, isn’t law, it’s just common practice. Fair Use is hardly well-defined).

Creative Commons actually seems to be a dangerous system with almost zero benefits to the public, copyright holders, or those of us who would like a return to a shorter-length copyright law.

Creative Commons isn’t law, John, it’s a license. It exists as it does based on the current state of copyright law, and will be modified through time to make sure that it complies with current copyright law. If you want better law, I suggest voting for better representatives, but I don’t see how a license, no matter how widely used, affects that at all. I don’t think you did either, but it makes for a good sound-bite.

This is nonsense. Before Creative Commons I could always ask to reuse or mirror something. And that has not changed. And I could always use excerpts for commercial or noncommercial purposes. It’s called fair use. I can still do that, but Creative Commons seems to hint that with its license means that I cannot. At least not if I’m a commercial site and the noncommercial proviso is in effect. This is a bogus suggestion, because Creative Commons does not supersede the copyright laws. In fact, the suggestion is dangerous, because if someone were sued by the Creative Commons folks over normal fair use and Creative Commons won the suit, then we’d all pay the price, as fair use would be eroded further.

Total shit argument and you know it. It’s a god-damned license, not a piece of law. If you can do something under the law now the license can’t disallow that use. The non-commercial attributes are there to protect people who license their work under clauses that allow for redistribution from having their work used for commercial purposes without being compensated. It’s blatently obvious to me, and my wife who watched the video on their website understood in the less than 10 minutes that the video ran. Did you watch the video, John? It says to watch the video. I would think someone was well-read as you would take the time to do the proper research, but my instinct here tells me you didn’t. I mainly blame your editor though. I thought that was the advantage of the old-media system, with editors and a management structure behind every by-line? They’re supposed to keep drivel like this from being published right?

If you want to publish something commercially, in it’s whole form, which is the point anyways, you can contact the author and obtain permission, which might involve compensation. This is the same way as it’s always worked, it just means me, who’s not getting paid to write this, is basically free to use their work as I see fit as long as I’m not making a dime off of it. This is beautiful, because people can take my work, written, visual or audio, and make something new and exciting out of it for years to come. We’re pioneering the re-mix culture. My latest video will be an example of that, as I have started to use footage from the Prelinger Archives.

I’m just so sad right now at the state of the media. This kind of attention whoring is what will do them in. I guess they’re feeding right into the hands of the people who want to bring them down, but for me, it’s just sad. The alternatives aren’t up to the task of replacing mass media yet, and I don’t want to live in the blackhole that will be created as people like John C. Dvorak, and the editors who support him, are destroyed.


4 Comments on “John C. Dvorak and Ziff-Davis the attention whores”

  1. Here. Here. When did Dvorak become such an idiot, and a loud one at that. It doesn’t get creative commons, he doesn’t do his homework, and he bashes it showing just how ignorant he is. This B.S. about a fashion statement or trend really pisses me off. The creative commons is about putting the language of the law BACK into the peoples hands so they can declare their intentions and establish legal grounds for collaboration. Dvorak is a fucking moron, and I don’t say that often… OK, I’ve never said that of somone before. Dvorak apparently should just keep his head buried in the sand, or wherever it’s been.

    -Mike of

  2. I don’t know if you saw this, but apparently we’re not the only ones who were appauled by Dvorak in the immediate circle. This is JD Laisca’s post on the same article.

  3. Doh, your comment thing screwed it up. Better fix that. Let me try again with HTML

    jd’s post

  4. damn, well, those are supposed to be underscores before and after “clueless”

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