This set of pages comprises a CopyLeft
CopyLeft is a concept that began with computer software but has now extended
to other "texts" broadly defined that might have once applied for "copyright."
What is the difference? Well, a copyright makes it "mine." I can
sue you if you take my ideas, make them better, and then share them with other
people. I don't think my ideas are perfect--I know they are not--they are
a draft in process. I will revise them until I get bored with them,
and for them to be of use to you, you need to revise them as well. Suppose
your revisions make them better for me? I think that is fabulous, and
everyone should benefit from your contribution. But that benefit should be
intellectual/practical; it should not be financial. If
you want to sell the material on these pages, charge others to use them, or
generally restrict their use, you have violated the spirit of CopyLeft. If
you want to improve them and share them with others, you have acted totally
within the spirit of CopyLeft. And if you send me your revisions so that
I can incorporate them here, the circle is complete and we are all better
off for it. Get it?
To learn about the origins of CopyLeft in
the computer world, check out this site and the links within it:
Interesting questions I've been asked:
So can I use this CopyLefted material as the "text" in an on-line class
for which students pay?
I am not sure how I feel about this. If it is a resource, then I
think it is cool--especially if the teacher improves on the material and sends
those improvements to me. If it is the text for which students are
paying, I am uncomfortable. They could get the material for free, so
what role is the "teacher" of the course playing in the academic content of
I'm writing a handbook for a major publisher, can I list this CopyLefted
URL as an additional resource?
Well, someone did this and did not bother to ask me. Had they asked,
how would I have answered? I'd have been flattered and said yes. I
am all in favor of resources beyond the material in the text/course being
made available to as many people as possible. Because I was not asked
I admit I was rather upset. I guess this is the old "mine!!" mentality
I should have recovered from when I was three years old--or at least when
I started extolling the virtues of CopyLeft.
Can I use this material in my class?
I always answer yes, but I like to know where, how, and who is using the
material. And of course, I love to receive revisions. Lots of
people ask if they can use this material; however, no one ever sends me revisions.
If they do, you'll see that I give them credit.
Madison, NJ 07940