Steven sums up a debate between Author and Avatar. Omo is also involved. The discussion is talking about Open Source, Anime Fansubs, and copyleft issues. Read Steven’s post if you want the proper chronology and context for everything.
I can’t really comment on the central issue in the debate – about the usefulness and legality of anime fansubs – because I don’t know much about it. I don’t watch fansubs and I’m not a prolific consumer of anime these days. I’m a casual fan and often rely on the more avid fans (see my blogroll) to do my filtering for me.
At any rate, Steven points out that the Open Source model doesn’t really work outside of software. Or at least, it works far better when applied to software than it does to other things which may be produced. The reason for this is pretty obvious: If I release the source code for something, everyone else can change it to suit their needs. Improvements will be made to the software by others. They will do things that I lack the knowledge or the time to do myself, or they will simply see a better way of doing things. If their changes suit me, I can use them myself. Both parties are better off as a result. Assuming I’m writing the software for free anyway (because I want to or because I need it) then all parties are richer under the open source model. Me, the other coders, and even the guy who comes along later and uses the software without contributing any of his own. We all benefit.
Which is not to say that Open Art couldn’t yield some interesting results. In fact, I’ve produced quite a bit of derivative art. DM of the Rings is my most famous example. My book is another example along similar lines. I produced both for free and released them for free. I created them not to make money, but because it was fun to do so. In an ideal world, these sorts of derivative works would simply exist without copyright concerns, although in practice the truth is that anyone can stop you from making derivative works if they have enough money. Some people are more prone to abuse this than others. I’m glad New Line Cinema never came in and spoiled my fun.
Open Art can’t work the same as Open Source, although I do wish the laws were less stringent and (much more importantly) that large companies weren’t so fearful and litigious when it comes to derivative work. It’s not the same as Open Source, but it’s still amusing and generally harmless to the original copyright holder.
UPDATE: And what the flaming crap is up with this YouTube I’m trying to embed? WordPress is suddenly inserting paragraph end tags in the middle of the embed code, making a hash out of it. Dangit! It’s never done this before…
LATER: That was really pointless and stupid. I’m not sure what the deal was, but the embed would fail unless I put it inside of a <div> tag. Never had that problem before. It’s still positioned stupid in IE7, but it works fine in Firefox. I’m calling it “good enough for now”.
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