Thursday, April 23, 2009


(I have edited the original, attributed above, to better reflect my exact position.)

Emails asking me for permission to reprint my work on other blogs, in newsletters, in conferences and in classrooms,


Requests to translate certain posts, or my entire blog or ebooks, into dozens of languages and/or in another format.

are unneccessary.

I’m granting full permission to use any of my content published on the internet in any way you like.

I release my copyright on this content.

From now on, there is no need to email me for permission. Use it however you want! Email it, share it, reprint it with or without credit. It’s OK. :)

Credit and payment
While you are under no obligation to do so, I would appreciate it if you give me credit for any work of mine that you use, and link back to the original. If you feel like spreading/sharing/distributing a copy of any content that I am selling I’d appreciate payment. I’d prefer people buy my ebooks.

Why I’m releasing copyright
I’m not a big fan of copyright laws anyway, especially as they’re being applied these days by corporations, used to crack down on the little guys so the corporations can continue their large profits.

Copyrights are often touted as protecting the artist, but in most cases the artist gets very little while the corporations make most of the money. I’m trying this experiment to see how releasing copyright affects the creator of the content.

I think, in most cases, the protectionism that is touted by “anti-piracy” campaigns and lawsuits and lobbying actually hurts the artist. Limiting distribution to protect profits isn’t a good thing. It's stupid.

If someone feels like sharing my content on their blog, or in any other form for that matter, that seems like a good thing for me. If someone wanted to share my ebooks with 100 friends, I don’t see how that hurts me. My work is being spread to many more people than I could do myself. That’s a plus, as I see it.

And if someone wants to take my work and improve upon it, as artists have been doing for centuries, I think that’s a wonderful thing. If they can take my favorite posts and make something funny or inspiring or thought-provoking or even sad … I say more power to them. The creative community only benefits from derivations and inspirations.

This isn’t a new concept, of course, and I’m freely ripping ideas off here. Which is kinda the point.

Counter arguments and all that
There are a number of objects that will likely be brought up to this idea, and while I can’t possibly answer all of them, here are a few of my responses in anticipation:

1. Google rank will go down. My understanding is that Google penalizes pages that have exact duplicates on other sites, when it comes to PageRank. I don’t know how much of a penalty that is. If people duplicate my content (which they already are, even without permission), it’s possible that my PageRank will drop and people will have a harder time finding my content on Google search. If that’s the case, I accept that penalty. I’ve never been one to go for SEO techniques anyway, so this is nothing new to me.

2. You’ll lose ebook revenues. If people buy one of my ebooks and then distribute it to 20 people, and each of those distributes it to 20 more, and those to 20 more … I’ve lost $76,000 in ebook revenues. Perhaps. That’s if you agree with the assumption that all those people would have bought the ebook if it hadn’t been freely distributed. I don’t buy that. In this example, thousands of people are reading my work and learning who wouldn’t have otherwise. That’s good for any content creator.

3. Who knows what people will do with your work? Someone could take my work, turn it into a piece of … baloney … and put my name on it. They could translate it with all kinds of errors. They could … well, they could do just about anything. But that kind of thinking stems from a mind that wants to control content … while I am of the opinion that you can’t control it, and even if you can, it’s not a good thing. What if someone takes my work and turns it into something brilliant, and becomes the next James Joyce? Or more likely, what if they take the work and extend the concepts and make it even more useful, to even more people? Release control, and see what happens. People are wonderful, creative creatures. Let’s see what they can do.

4. You’re making other bloggers look bad. Perhaps, if you want to see things in a negative light. But I’m not doing this as a challenge to other bloggers, or as a comment on their policies. I’m doing it simply to stay in line with my values. And who knows? Maybe others will be inspired by this in some way. Or maybe they won’t. Either way, please don’t judge others based on what I do.

5. What about when you write that print book you’re always talking about? When I get published by a major publisher, I probably won’t be able to release copyright. I accept that as a cost of getting published in print, which is a dream of mine. If I contradict myself, very well … I contradict myself. [Edit: I should have attributed this before, but the last sentence is a paraphrase of Whitman.]

6. What if someone publishes a book with all your content and makes a million dollars off it? Good for them. Good for me too if they give me credit and finance making my home self sufficient in water, food, soil and/or electricity.

7. But … but … they’re stealing from you! You can’t steal what is given to you freely. Giving and receiving is, not piracy.

Inspirations: Free Culture, by Lawrence Lessig; and GNU by Richard Stallman

Edit: Just to clarify, this post is an official notification that my work published and/or distribued by me or my agent is in the public domain. I hereby waive all claim of copyright in/to/on this work; it may be used or altered in any manner without attribution or notice to the me. Attribution, of course, is appreciated.