My undergraduate honors thesis, entitled “The Free Culture Commons and Future Generations” (available at Scribd) presents an argument to artists and other content creators about the control they assume over their “intellectual property.” Through recognition of the flawed metaphors behind the concept of intellectual property and the adoption of new metaphors, a responsibility to protect the freedom of speech of future generations is revealed. It requires that those who create content and protect it under the Copyright powers granted to Congress in the Constitution of the United States adopt the minimal protection required to incentivize the creation of this content. An alternative metaphor that “ideas are children” reveals a set of possibilities and responsibilities over ideas that are closer to the natural characteristics of ideas, recognizing that ideas (and their expressions in digital content) have the special ability to be shared with no loss of quality. Artists who adopt an alternative perspective toward their ideas will recognize the value of freedom of speech for future generations.
I wrote this piece in fulfillment of the requirements of the Robert Clark Honors College at the University of Oregon and defended it on 18 November 2008.
Available under a Creative Commons license (CC-BY-NC-SA)