Do you think the work of Moshe Feldenkrais should be more widely available?
If you read the FeldyForum or participate in other community activities such as attending guild conferences, you may have heard about the dissatisfaction that many Feldenkrais and Feldenkrais-based practitioners have about the accessibility of materials. The discussions have been going on for many, many years.
Much of the materials related to the work of Moshe Feldenkrais are, in fact, copyrighted. That is, the written transcript or audio of the particular “ATM” or other session is protected under copyright law and a person cannot wantonly make copies, re-sell, re-transmit or otherwise utilize the materials without written consent of the creator.
That is, perhaps, sensible. People do expect to have certain protections on the use of their creative work and do expect to profit from their own materials.
The Limitations of Copyright
However, when considering general access to materials related to the work of Moshe Feldenkrais there are deep and problematic issues with copyright that no one in the community has fully addressed.
Some of the limitations of copyrighted Feldenkrais-based materials:
1) Restrict the growth of the method by restricting access to materials.
2) Restrict the development of practitioners by forcing them to buy and adapt source materials.
3) Encourage pathological interactions where friends and colleagues seem forced to “break the law” in order to share, grow and learn together.
4) Slow the process of creating new applications and products based on the work.
5) Limit the public’s ability to learn about the method and utilize it (this is a huge problem).
6) Dramatically reduce the potential of the work to “go viral” and spread on the internet via email, social networking websites, blogs, podcasts and the dozens of new tools that have not been invented yet.
7) Hide the crucial “elusive obvious” that there a many business, revenue and marketing models that do not rely on copyright. Models that may be more beneficial to the continued growth of our communities and by extension – individuals within our communities.
There are other issues such as violations of evolutionary and learning principles. But I will save those arguments for a later post.
For now, let me ask you a question:
What would happen if there were a core of Feldenkrais-based lessons that were freely available, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days per year – forever?
I’m talking about lessons that anyone could download, use, adapt, share, give away, post on Facebook, email, give to their neighbors, their students, their lovers, their mothers, in any way they choose, for their own benefit and for the benefit of their community? Do you think that might help to create an explosion of interest in the work of Moshe Feldenkrais?
Would greater access Feldenkrais-based materials make the world a better place…?
Would greater access Feldenkrais-based materials help more people understand and use the work….?
Would some people who downloaded and used free Feldenkrais-based materials be more likely to end up in your classes…and on your table…?
Would you like to have freely available material that you could use in your study groups, classes and in your own products?
Would you be excited if you released one of your own works under an open-source license and found that it was being used by people all over the world, thereby introducing you and your ideas to a huge audience?
If any of your answers to those questions resonate with you, then it’s time to for you to get to work and start enacting your intention. Nothing is stopping you from making your own transcripts, putting lessons in your own words, and releasing them under a less restrictive copyright such as a creative commons share-and-share alike or even a public domain license. And when you have done so , let me know, so that I can help others find your work. Who knows, we may be able to build an entire database together.
And in case you haven’t noticed:
“I’ve Already Made My Decision”
Over the coming days and weeks, I am going to begin releasing many of my own transcripts and perhaps other materials under a Creative-Commons “Share and Share Alike” license. I will also be discussing some of the benefits and limitations of doing so.
Until then, stay tuned. I hope you will enjoy and use the materials that I share with you. If you would like priority notification of the materials as they become available and of new blog post and podcasts, please consider signing up for updates by using the form below. Your email address will be held secure and private by Feedblitz service and will only be use to send you notifications of new posts.
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