User:Psychoslave/In praise of attributive public domain

From Meta, a Wikimedia project coordination wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

I just look around me, and see all that objects. Most of them in the present surounding environment are manufactured, that is some people participated to create them as they are: a computer, a pen, a notebook, a table, the building where I am right now, beyond the window there are pruned trees, roads and cars. I wonder who are the people that where involved in making all that emerge. From the early conception to the last gesture of completion, who are they that participated in making everything that surrond me.

With the progress of technology, I can imagine some augmented reality application that would allow me to answer that, pointing at some object, I would not only access relevant information about the object itself, but also who participated in its creation. Possibly having a list of corresponding biographies, and maybe even some contact and a way to send thanks to this people if they are still alive.

All that, is something that is already common when we look at some digital objects. Looking at some Wikipedia page, I can go at the history, see who contributed to the page creation, possibly contact them and thank them especially if they were logged in when contributing. There, I can sometime find information about these users, on their dedicated page, and talk to them.

What we don't record is at best loosely inferable from other traces, but often it's simply lost in oblivion.

Currently, there are a lot of people that seem concerned with so called fake news. But didn't we lived since the dawn of mankind in a world where distorted representation of facts have been the rule, and the care for actual traceable data have been the exception? When you listen to music, you are often offered a name of some authors. Often that offer an entry point to get more data about the corresponding people, however the fame machine is often creating and propagating all sort of legends more or less disconnected from anything that have been either measured or witnessed with any critical thought. That is, it's far from perfect. But at least it provides the opportunity to see if the statement are checkable in the frame of some verification process. Assessment frames can be diverse, but they ultimately all have to rely on some data input.

The thing is, if we don't take seriously the record of attribution of any work done and any statement uttered, then we drop in oblivion an easy to get precious input and doom our future representations to be based on nothing but fantasy of arbitrary metric of the day with total absence of correlation with actual living context of involved people.

It's not that the link between a single individual and anything it does is the sole way to gather relevant data for creating factual representation, but without them, inference are doomed to disembodied abstractions disconnected from historical and social realities.

In the same time, having data, information and miscelleanous objects gathered but legally unusable due to arbitrary restrictions is equally useless as not having these items collected in the first place. Any restriction should be backed with strong arguments on how it balance benefit of all parties, and should in no way introduce virtual inequity fostering enforcement of practical inequality and stucking people into antagonistic and conflicting roles.

That's why we all should praise attributive public domain that keep the connection between people and what they produce alive ad infinitum for all intellectual works. And even beyond, also extend it to every works that are more manual. Probably putting the former on a pedestal is one of this great distortion frame of our contemporary world representation.


Now, as someone especially attached to freedom, I confess that to my mind everything should always be in a situation that would basically be a general attributive public domain: duty to remember, and duty to explore further as you can. The goal of providing possible means of subsistence for those who make intellectual works should never lead to enact so unballanced duties and rights, risks and hazardous rewards such as copyright, patent and so on. Actually, my opinion is that everybody should have decent means of subsistence whatever its actions in life. And trying to achieve that by distorting this goal in justification of inequitable distribution is something rather paradoxal which betray the tacit sense of equity that support it in the first place.

Also, of course, recording everything that people do is a subject of concern per se. As I envision it, keeping in mind the need of a balance with privacy and possibility to conduct social actions – especially in face of a deleterious divide and rule general policy – is essential for human welfare.