Copyright and Bunny Trail Junction

Unless otherwise noted, Bunny Trail Junction is released in all forms under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license. That means, if I’m not far wrong, you are allowed to copy it, to sell it, to make and sell derivative works, all without even asking me. The only restriction is that you give me credit, and that any derivative work also be released under this license.

If you subscribe on the SubscribeStar, or know someone who does (for I do not restrict my subscribers from sharing what they will any more than I restrict you), you can get the source files, color my books, and sell the color versions as your own (albeit with due credit), or even branch off and create alternate stories. Go to town!

I am not a lawyer. Consult the website above and an actual intellectual property attorney before doing anything too crazy. But my aim was to make it so that you can play with my toys however you like.

So I think intellectual property is evil or at least foolish, right?

Wrong!

There is a healthy debate raging in my circles. Some hold that IP law is evil and a tool of oppression. Some that it is good and a tool of curation. And many that it is a fine concept by itself, but it’s current form is abusive and it needs to be scaled back to something like the original parameters. I have not settled that debate. I have not seen a knockout hit. I don’t at all believe it is necessarily wrong for me to own Jump the Shark and Arthur the Rabbit and license them as I see fit and get all the profit therefrom.

No, I am agnostic on these matters for now. But just because I am agnostic on Intellectual Property doesn’t mean I can’t freely give away what is mine.

The no-IP folks, the ones I care to listen to, argue that creators can survive and thrive in a world where they give their work away. I have my doubts, but I’m willing to give it a go. In the worst case, I’ll thwart my destiny to become the next Disney, deprive myself of a bazillion dollars, and so on.

But I’m a Christian. Surely if I deserve a reward in this world, and am denied it, God will give it to me tenfold in the next. So that’s not actually a particularly bad scenario. If that happens, I’ll be the emperor of some genuine magical kingdom in a world I’d already much rather be in, me currently expecting I’ll be a beggar in a corner.

The pro-IP folks, the ones I care to listen to, argue that my creations will be soiled and dragged through the mud, and I am giving up my power to protect them. But a certain megacorporation whose baleful three-wheeled eye I’d like to avoid and which comes down on nursery schools with the force of ten thousand lawyers cannot, despite all those lawyers, stop internet pornographers from defiling their work. Will I fare any better? Really?

Two things, for me, really sealed the deal on this decision. The first was George Lucas and Star Wars. I don’t much like the prequels. I like the Mouse Wars even less. Lucas passing on his IP made it worse. Lucas holding onto his IP and developing it himself, but without the checks and balances he’d labored under the first time round, made it worse. Do I think I am a man of greater genius? Certainly not — and I don’t hold Lucas to be particularly ingenious. Similarly, and in the vein of this example, the team that made Avatar: the Last Airbender turned around and made Legend of Korra. Sometimes, it seems, the muses just strike, and God hands men a story they could not have created on their own, and their subsequent flailing proves that the spark was never in them.

If I succeed in producing anything of real value, I will not be so silly as to assume it came from within me, and I can produce another just as good on demand.

The second thing that sealed the deal was the death of Christopher Tolkien, and the censorship of Dr. Seuss.

J.R.R. Tolkien had as good a steward of his work as any man could hope for in his son. But now that is done, and the robber barons have Middle Earth. Likewise, the foundation established to guard and promote Dr. Seuss’s legacy is now conspiring with Amazon and Ebay and everyone else to make sure that parts of it they don’t like are not available.

King Solomon himself, second in wisdom only to Christ, could not make the prosperous kingdom he forged last a single generation beyond his death.

If I can manage to be a righteous man — no easy task! — God might secure for me a worthy heir. If I can manage to be wiser than any man save Christ, however, I cannot guarantee my legacy will last for an instant. And even in the first case, that heir will one day die, and then what?

No. The only way to make sure the pagans do not silence me is to make sure, as much as I humanly can, that any man is permitted to copy and spread my work. So that when the E. Darwin Hartshorn Foundation decides that good and evil rabbits is an allegory for racism, any old Joe on the internet can circumvent them and print copies of my books regardless.

I do not mean to imply I am anywhere near the level of Tolkien, or even of Seuss. Only that, there is a war of information going on, of stories. And my bullets may not be the biggest or the truest, but, being on the battlefield whether I will or not, and being definitely on one side of it, I am obliged to take the best shot I may.

And the best shot I may, by the wisdom I currently have, is Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0, and my blessings on anything you would like to make with anything I would happen to make.

— E. Darwin Hartshorn.