There is no limit what a man can do or where he can go, if he doesn’t mind who gets the credit.
— Robert Woodruff
I get a lot of emails asking me for permission to reprint my articles in whynepal.com on other blogs, in newsletters, in conferences and in classrooms. I get requests to translate certain posts, or my entire blog, into other languages.
So I’m granting full permission to use any of my content (but not the guest written articles who you will have ask them) on Whynepal.com in any way you like. If unsure, just ask. I release my copyright on all content I own here.
From now on, there is no need to email or Facebook me for permission. Use it however you want! Email it, share it, reprint it with or without credit. Change it around, put in a bunch of swear words and attribute them to me. It’s OK. 🙂
While you are under no obligation to do so, I would appreciate it if you give me credit for any work of mine that you use, and ideally, link back to the original. but if your friends want to share any of my content here with friends, they have every right to do so without mentioning where they got it from.
The substance, the bulk, the actual and valuable material of all human utterances—is plagiarism.
Why I’m releasing copyright
I’m not a big fan of copyright laws anyway, especially as they’re being applied these days by corporations, used to crack down on the little guys so they can continue their large profits.
Copyrights are often touted as protecting the artist, but usually the artist gets very little while the corporations make most of the money. I’m trying this experiment to see whether releasing copyright really hurts the creator of the content.
I think, in most cases, the protectionism touted by “anti-piracy” campaigns and lawsuits and lobbying actually hurts the artist. Limiting distribution to protect profits isn’t a good thing.
The lack of copyright, and blatant copying by other artists and even businesses, never hurt Leonardo da Vinci when it comes to images such as the Mona Lisa, the Last Supper, or the Vitruvian Man. It’s never hurt Shakespeare or our own Laxmi Prasad Devkota. I doubt that it’s ever really hurt any artist (although I might just be ignorant here).
And while I’m no da Vinci or Shakespeare or Laxmi Prasad Devkota, I can’t help but wonder whether copyright hurts me or helps me. If someone feels like sharing my content on their blog, or in any other form for that matter, that seems like a good thing for me. If someone wanted to share my articles with 100 friends, I don’t see how that hurts me. My work is being spread to many more people than I could do myself. That’s a plus, as I see it.
And if someone wants to take my work and improve upon it, as artists have done for centuries, I think that’s a wonderful thing. If they can take my favorite posts and make something funny or inspiring or thought-provoking or even sad … I say more power to them. The creative community only benefits from derivations and inspirations.
This isn’t a new concept, of course, and I’m freely ripping ideas off here. Which is kinda the point.
Counter arguments and all that
There are a number of objects that will likely be brought up to this idea, and while I can’t possibly answer all of them, here are a few of my responses in anticipation:
Google rank will go down. My understanding is that Google penalizes pages that have exact duplicates on other sites, when it comes to PageRank. I don’t know how much of a penalty that is. If people duplicate my content (which they already are, even without permission), it’s possible that my PageRank will drop and people will have a harder time finding my content on Google search. If that’s the case, I accept that penalty. I’ve never been one to go for SEO techniques anyway, so this is nothing new to me.
Who knows what people will do with your work?
Someone could take my work, turn it into a piece of … baloney … and put my name on it. They could translate it with all kinds of errors. They could … well, they could do just about anything. But that kind of thinking stems from a mind that wants to control content … while I think that you can’t control it, and even if you can, it’s not a good thing. What if someone takes my work and turns it into something brilliant, and becomes the next James Joyce? Or more likely, what if they take the work and extend the concepts and make it even more useful, to even more people? Release control, and see what happens. People are wonderful, creative creatures. Let’s see what they can do.
You’re making other bloggers look bad.
Perhaps, if you want to see things in a negative light. But I’m not doing this as a challenge to other bloggers, or as a comment on their policies. I’m doing it simply to stay in line with my values. And who knows? Maybe others will be inspired by this in some way. Or maybe they won’t. Either way, please don’t judge others based on what I do.
What if someone publishes a book with all your content and makes a million dollars off it?
I hope they at least give me credit. And my deepest desire is that they give some of that money to a good cause.
But … but … they’re stealing from you! You can’t steal what is given freely. I call this sharing, not piracy.
Just to clarify, this post is an official notification that my writing here at whynepal.com is now in the public domain.
I hereby waive all claim of copyright in my work here; it may be used or altered in any way without attribution or notice to the me. Attribution, of course, is appreciated. 🙂
I have stolen much of the content from Leo Babauta to make my case a for copy-right free whynepal.com .He started this trend for me, and inspired me to do this long time ago. I just had not put it in writing. Today I did. And in fact he doesn’t mind as written here.
Inspirations: Free Culture, by Lawrence Lessig; and GNU by Richard Stallman, Zen habits by Leo Babauta