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Houston, We Have A Public Domain Problem – Commentary

Parker Higgins is an activist at the Electronic Frontier Foundation: “I received a bogus copyright takedown notice for using public domain audio on SoundCloud yesterday. The sound in question—the famous “Houston, we have a problem” snippet of the Apollo 13 mission—is incontrovertibly available to all, for any use, without copyright restrictions. The fact that it’s been yanked from my SoundCloud page, though, is a sad demonstration of how completely many online services have swallowed the fallacy that “unauthorized” means “unacceptable.” It’s a dangerous myth, that we should all need permission any time we’re getting value out of a piece of culture. And it’s one that gets entrenched deeper each time we accept the idea that we’re able to make use of a work because a copyright owner is or would be OK with it, and not just because we have a basic right to participate in culture that is more fundamental than anybody else’s desire to maximize profits.” [Thanks to Darlene Fichter]

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