Following on the Public Domain Day post from last week, I thought I should point out the Exciting and Interesting comic book discussion of fair use and copyright from the Duke Center for the Study of the Public Domain:
“Bound by Law?” http://web.law.duke.edu/cspd/comics/digital.php
The comic book is a fun way to communicate about complex and poorly understood issues, but I think it also demonstrates another aspect of openness–open distribution. The comic is licensed CC-by-nc-sa and you can get it in many different forms, recognizing many different potential users and uses.
If you want a nice physical copy, there is print versions available for purchase from multiple sources. If you want to read online, there is the free HTML website or a Flash version (with more functionality than HTML, but requires Flash Player and more resources). Further more, there are many different versions available for download, depending on your needs and resources: two sizes of PDF, high res cover images for web or printing, or a zip of the individual page images for easy reuse. There are links to versions in several languages, and even an edition without the text to facilitate users making their own translations. That is OPEN!
More than just providing material free of cost, more than just publishing content, they are interacting with users, encouraging further creativity and thought.
If you want some more comics (relating to copyright!), check out “Mimi and Eunice’s Intellectual Pooperty” from Nina Paley, http://questioncopyright.com/mimi-book-ip.html
The page offers print booklets for purchase or a free CBR format version to download, and links to the free master files on Archive.org. More comics are available at the main Mimi and Eunice site. Nina Paley describes her approach to intellectual property as Copyheart: ♡2010 by Author/Artist. Copying is an act of love. Please copy.
For a more academic discussion of issues surrounding the public domain, check out James Boyle, The Public Domain: Enclosing the Commons of the Mind, http://www.thepublicdomain.org
Boyle’s website offers free download of several books and educational resources.