Identity and copyright¶
Thursday, December 30, 2021 (04:30)
One issue is not yet very clear to myself regarding intellectual property and my Lutsu project: there are situations where the current copyright system is an important instrument for protecting your identity.
A reputation often also represents more than a commercial value: a moral or ethical or emotional or idealistic value. These types of values can be complex to evaluate or measure.
But one thing seems clear: the reputation of an organization, however small or big its value, is the result of their activity. It is part of why they are working. Therefore it makes sense to say that they own it. Your reputation is something you own, it is a kind of private property, and it is not material but spiritual, so it is a form of intellectual property. It is part of the “honour” part of copyright, the one we want to enhance.
If the Lutsu project in its current form would become reality and the concept of intellectual property would get declared a sin and get removed from our law systems, everybody could take the result of my work and make something new out of it.
That’s basically what we want. Just imagine John the Baptist saying “That’s my idea, it’s part of my reputation, I worked for developing this idea!”
But what happens if I do not like the new variant that somebody else makes out of my idea? Theoretically it is not my business. But: The other person –naturally– benefits from my name and reputation to gain attention and “catch” people for their own, modified, variant of what I created. And my own idea, my reputation, my intellectual property will potentially get harmed by this new spiritual breed.
I have a specific example in mind. The music produced and published by the Taizé community is a result of their work and a medium of their spirituality. The Taizé songs are “designed” to being used for a certain prayer style. The community publishes “directives” where they try to define this style. Their “directives” start as follows:
How can we keep on praying together? People often ask this question after a stay in Taizé, or else after taking part in one of the meetings outside of Taizé. Here, then, are some of the more important elements that go to preparing a prayer that is meditative in character and “that has neither beginning nor end”. – https://www.taize.fr/en_article337.html
Now it happens ever and again that musicians get inspired by Taizé music without caring or fully grasping the spirituality behind it, and produce variants of the music that are more suitable e.g. for concerts. A concert is not a prayer, at least not a prayer “as they are doing it” in Taizé.
So these variants are not “aligned” with the spirituality of the community. Or at least the brothers –and with them quite some people– “don’t like it”, they don’t feel that this is “the right way”, they feel that this is no longer “Taizé”.
Long story, short point: I need to replace “Intellectual property is a sin” by something else, something like “Preventing others from using a public resource is a sin. Publishing knowledge means that it becomes a public resource.”
Every word you pronounce is yours, because you spoke it and you are responsible for it, for fame or for shame. But your word, as soon as you spoke it, starts a life of its own, it gets heard by others and you cannot prevent it from being heard by others. And as soon as they hear it, it may touch their heart. And you have no right to prevent them from letting their heart respond to it. And responding to knowledge includes reusing it, forwarding it to others, potentially after modifying it.