Saturday, July 05, 2008

Moral rights and the editing of history

There was an imbroglio over at BoingBoing over the removal of a number of posts related to a blogger, Violet Blue. The posts were removed for personal reasons by one of BoingBoing's editors, who was apparently the person who created the posts in the first place. In the resulting controversy about editing history, BoingBoing's principals discussed the moral claims of a creator to withdraw work that no longer reflects that creator's beliefs, as well as the countervailing interests of audiences who relied on the previous publication. While I think it makes sense for BoingBoing to be able to remove posts, I'm glad that they allow the previous versions to stay available through the Internet Archive--the closer a source is to a source of record, the more important it is to make corrections or changes visible, and BoingBoing's big enough for that to be a relevant consideration. And I don't think Xeni Jardin's analogy to an individual artist destroying works he no longer respects is right, given that in her analogy the artist had never disseminated the works to the public before deciding they were unfitted to survive.

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