I have an observation re: this thread: People who don't hold copyrights
or patents typically don't understand the full significance of copyright
or patent laws because they never have to. Those of us who do hold them
regard the issue differently. My advice, try making your living from
royalties for a few years, then let me know how you feel about watching
someone else appropriate your work. Copyright means literally that the
holder owns the right to make copies, not you or anyone else.
I'm reminded of my mother's oft-repeated adage, "What part of 'NO' don't
you understand ?".
The assertion that copyright is not an incentive to creativity is
correct, of course, though its assurance of payment might function as a
spur to take on a job and get it done. I wonder sometimes, how many
members of this list actually make their living as creative artists ?
Because unless that's what you're doing for your livelihood (i.e. buying
groceries and clothes for your kids, paying the rent, paying the utility
bills, etc) then I suggest that it's simply too easy to make blanket
assumptions about the processes by which an artist produces work for
Btw, if anyone would like to get a more realistic sense of that Better
World Without Copyright, I suggest you read the memoirs of Hector
Berlioz. And let us not forget Disney's famous appropriation of
Stravinsky's work. Yep, the same Disney who perverted the existing
copyright law, aided & abetted by Sonny Bono. If international copyright
law had covered Russia then Igor would have got a fair cut of the
royalty pie from Disney's Fantasia. As it happened, Disney basically
said "You're screwed" because he knew Stravinsky had no legal recourse.
At least Stravinsky got in a last bite: When asked if he had any comment
on the film he referred to it as an "imbecility". I'll guess that he
wouldn't have liked Snow White either.
Yeh, yeh, yeh, artists made art before copyright. What they didn't make
was as much money as they now stand to make because of it. Ezra Pound
once wrote that knowing a little hunger isn't necessarily bad for an
artist, but starvation is definitely not good. Or maybe we think someone
makes "enough" or too much money, so we can justify the theft of
copyrighted material. Okay, why stop there, why not steal rich people's
cars ? They probably have enough of them , and they can certainly afford
more, so why not steal their cars ? Oh that's right, cars are different
from software. We can take a copy of the software and the original
remains, so that makes the theft okay. No, it does not, and that is
exactly why we have copyright law. The car *can't* be copied without
undue effort, the software can. The ease of reproducibility calls for
further protection *if* it is an agreed-upon principle that the maker of
the work is due the rights to its copying. At this time that's the law,
at least here in the US. You're welcome to try to change it, but you're
not welcome to break it as though it doesn't exist or because you
believe it's unjust. Of course we can go ahead and break whatever laws
we feel like breaking, whether we understand and accept the consequences
or not, but if we're serious about changing those conditions then we
ought to engage in the proper process towards that end.
Btw, I'm not playing "holier than thou" here. I've downloaded my share
of copyrighted material, but I don't illude myself about its ethicality.
Nor do I flog myself over the deed.
"They were artists in their own right, Andrea said, intent on
restructuring reality, and the New Jerusalem was a fine place indeed,
free of overdrafts and disgruntled landlords and the need to find
someone to cover the evening's bill."
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