Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Four Freedoms of Culture

Nina Paley has reiterated the four basic freedoms of Culture.   They are basically:

  1. the freedom to use the work and enjoy the benefits of using it
  2. the freedom to study the work and to apply knowledge acquired from it
  3. the freedom to make and redistribute copies, in whole or in part, of the information or expression
  4. the freedom to make changes and improvements, and to distribute derivative works 

Well, doesn't that sound good to your ears? The problem with creating good works for the use of others is that it is automatically put under copyright.  While that is a good thing, the terrible thing about it is that you are forced to police your copyright yourself, or face the danger of selling printer rights or all your rights to a publishing company (like Wizards of the Coast or Disney, to name two).

As liberal as the Wizards of the Coast were, it was a good thing that they made the Open Game License.  However, the flaw was that people weren't able to fully exercise their rights above.  This is important, because imagine what it would be like if you could comment and have the freedom to use the work.  Or to make and redistribute copies, or even to make changes and improvements and to distribute derivative works.

After all, culture is important to us as Gamers.  We as DMs buy a piece of work from Wizards of the Coast or some other Roleplaying production company and use it to provide free entertainment to a couple of others.  Also as DMs, we create our characters and adventures and tell wonderful interactive stories.  And if we aren't free to do that with the games we bought, how can we advance our own culture as gamers?

Everyone needs to know that a Roleplaying Game Setting, once published, is culture.  And Culture should be free.  Oh, by the way, the cartoons were made by Nina Paley.

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