Don’t Give Them Ammo

I saw tonight, in my perusing of my favourite debating ground MetaFilter, that someone was making a reasonable case against the Intelligent Design (hah! a misnomer if there ever was one), but they also levelled a charge of ‘using copyrighted materials without permission’.

To that I say: do not give them ammunition in their fight against you, not here, nor on any front. Truly, I have recently been reading about Winston Churchill and that may be colouring my choice of phrase, but the point stands. The charge that ‘copyrighted materials’ might be used without permission is, in fact, entirely fine, when such use is within constraints of critique, teaching and other methods, to a certain portion no greater than 10% (in my country, at least). This is more generally known as the doctrine of fair use.

They’re misguided fools as it is. Don’t give them any help by muddying the waters with poorly articulated assertions about copyright law. I realise you were trying to demolish them completely by showing how awful their argument was, and how underhanded their methods were. Let us, for once, debate things on their merits, rather than stoop to ham-fisted attempt to malign their character through ad-hominem attacks. Particularly when you’re wrong.

Really, it doesn’t help SCIENCE, and it doesn’t help us with clarity in copyright law either.

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