In honour of the World Book and Copyright Day Karl Jonsson from Swedish Creative Commons has written a guest post for us:
Today is World Book and Copyright Day, or Världsbokdagen, in Swedish. The celebration of books on april 23 began in Catalunya in 1923. In 1995 UNESCO decided to add copyright and it became the World Book and Copyright Day. Not everyone seems to have noticed, however. In Sweden we usually just talk about Världsbokdagen (World Book Day) and in the British Isles they have World Book Day on the first Thursday of March.
Among FFKP members, and others who participate in free software or free culture, there are probably those who are fairly satisfied with today’s copyright, as well as those who would prefer to abolish it completely. Most people seem to agree on the moral rights, like the right to attribution (even the Pirate Party wants to keep that (link in Swedish)). It is mainly about the economic monopoly and it’s scope that opinions differ.
Regardless of your views about copyright, it can be good that it gets som attention. Copyright laws give an author exclusive rights to his work, but it can also be used for sharing. Those exclusive rights enable the copyright holder to dictate how the work can be used. This is the foundation for licenses like those from Creative Commons and the concept of copyleft used by for example the GNU GPL. Without copyright, copyleft would not work and and author would not be able to demand that derivative works should be released under the same license or that source code should be made available. So why not simply use the World Book and Copyright Day to ponder copyright?