From The Globe and Mail
By Kate Taylor
Like many parents, science-fiction writer Cory Doctorow judges the future according to how it might treat his young daughter. A vocal advocate for the rights of computer users, he brought himself to the brink of tears at a recent Vancouver conference as he imagined an era in which electronic devices continually spy on their owners looking for copyright infringement....
So, the copyright debate has come to this. We have reached the point where apparently sensible professionals will speculate that freedom of expression and making a living as a writer may become mutually exclusive...
In the computer sciences, the example of open-source software in which the bugs get corrected by a community of users who guarantee a higher-quality product than proprietary versions is a powerful one – powerful enough that some predict it will force itself into other industries.
“The economics of software create a hothouse, but once they are strong, these models can work elsewhere,” says [School of Information alumnus] Yuri Takhteyev, another professor in the U of T faculty of information, arguing that open source has financial support from tech companies, institutional support from the universities and, now, an ideology behind it.
Prof. Takhteyev sees the Creative Commons, an online licensing system in which creators can spell out what free uses they will permit, as an attempt to apply that community model to books and movies. “They have a harder road ahead of them, but if you asked me in the late nineties if I thought Wikipedia would work, I wouldn't have thought it would work either.”