Copyleft, Copy yeah!

I have, in my possession, a veritable treasure trove of images copied onto my flashdrive by the nice people at the Archivo Histórico José Vial Armstrong. I drafted a dream list of images regarding the School of Architecture’s various projects, never really believing that I’d get all of them. But I did. And most shockingly for free. I am in the land of copyleft.

I heard this term for the first time at a conference I participated in this past fall. It was actually the topic that caused the most debate since the scholars visiting from Latin America were bewildered by the copyright practices of the U.S. Essentially, the amount of images I received today would have cost me a princely sum in the U.S. Adding to that the hundreds of pages I would’ve needed scanned. The Chilean archive has eliminated this step by making entire books available as PDFs on their website.

I’m not so much interested in debating the politics, especially since each has its advantages and disadvantages. Moreover, since my formation has been in the U.S. and I am for all intents and purposes a very compliant person (surprise, surprise) I go with the copyright flow. As a researcher not based in Chile though, I am grateful for the access which, in the end, has saved me airfare, time, and bills. I’d probably think differently had I been charged in $1.000 pesos notes.

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