My Defcon 31 speech, delivered August 12 in Las Vegas.
I have a confession to make: I am old. I turned 52 last month, the full deck of cards. I have two artificial hips. I have cataracts in both eyes. I’m old as dirt.
You may know that the AARP has a squad junk-mail ninjas that track you down on your 50th birthday to try to sell you a membership. Less well known is that the AARP also issues every 50 year old with a license to complain about how much worse things are today than they used to be in my day
I know that complaint is trite, but I think it’s true when it comes to the internet. I think the internet used to be better, back before it turned into what the Kiwi hacker Tom Eastman calls “five giant websites filled with screenshots of text from the other four.”
I miss the old, good internet. But this isn’t a talk about bringing the old good internet back. It’s a talk about what a new good web could be.
Some background: under US law — and under a mountain of international treaties, from the Berne Convention to the TRIPS —copyright is automatically granted to creative works of human authorship “at the moment of fixation in some tangible medium.”
That is: as soon as a human being makes something creative, and records it in some medium (a hard-drive, magnetic tape, paper, film, canvas, etc), that creative thing is immediately copyrighted (the duration of that copyright varies, both by territory and by whether the creator was working on their own or for a corporation).