I wrote previously about copyright, and the way that entertainment is influencing science. If you are interested in that topic, then look up a review in this week’s Science of Laurence Lessig’s book Remix:
an engaging read about how the Internet affects our cultural production system and the policy implications of these effects.
Copyright law has not kept up with technical change and the consequent cultural change:
our current approach to copyright developed at a time when quotation from recorded music and audiovisual works was only available to commercial entities, and thus it was designed to regulate such entities… [but it is now]… governing the day-to-day cultural practices of millions of amateurs who are the foundation of Internet culture
The review draws attention to why this is all relevant to science:
concerns he raises about excessive property rights getting in the way of creative uses of existing materials apply as well to data and the technical and legal constraints on sharing them, to research tools and patents constraining their application, to materials and material transfer agreements that can impede their employment across institutions and labs, and to open access publishing.
and also points out that:
Lessig weaves his tapestry from many stories about human cooperation…Two or three of these touch on efforts to harness decentralized contributors to scientific projects
Rereading this post, I note that it consists mostly of quotes from that book review, which bears out the importance of quotation, borrowing and remixing.