On Egoboo and original art

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

I think I need either a copyright weblog, or a copyright category. If I add a copyright category, what graphic would I use? A graphic of an aspirin bottle?

Kevin Marks sent the link to a very interesting, though extremely footnoted document on copyright: Questioning the Economic Justification for (and thus the Constitutionality of) Copyright Law’s Prohibition against Unauthorized Copying, by Mark Nadel, a lawyer.

I discovered the phrase “egoboo” in the document, an abbreviation of “ego boost”. Get used to it, I’ll be using the phrase much in the future.

The document focuses on monetary compensation for copyright, but gets into many of the items we’ve been discussing, including the moral rights of creators. In particular, the section titled “Access to Raw Materials” is fascinating. Best quote:


Courts have long recognized that all artists build on and borrow from their predecessors. Many of Shakespeare’s plots were originated by others. In fact, literary imagination may be “but a weaving of the author’s experience of life into an existing literary tradition.” As Siva Vaidhayanathan eloquently reveals, even leading copyright advocate Mark Twain acknowledged that “but then, we are all thieves,” and pop star Moby agrees. Thus, many have challenged the very concept of truly original work or that any one person can be recognized as the author.


Well this just releases my flights of fancy. Buckle up for the ride…

I can’t find the comment, but someone wrote in response to one of the weblog postings related to copyright that words are raw material from the public domain, so an author can never really ‘own’ what they write.

If I use the words badly, will you take them back?

You can’t own your home, because the dirt on which it rests originally blew there from somewhere else. You’re using someone else’s dirt. Give it back

The water you’re drinking was originally someone else’s p…ool.

Do you smoke? Well, you’re taking the public’s clean air. Did you ask first? And better not tell me you smoke AND you drive an SUV. Probably also talk on the cellphone while you drive, too. And eat red meat and belch in public.

BTW, did anyone give all of us permission to use the air around us to transmit our WiFi signals? And did anyone give you permission to use that stray signal you picked up?

Did you give me permission to use the Internet? Did I give you permission to read this? Wait! Wait! You have my permission! Don’t leave!

A photographer can’t own an image because all they’re doing is copying an original that doesn’t belong to them. As much as they may want the model, all they can own is the physical photograph, but not the image or what formed the image. Well, unless they’re photographing fruit they bought. Or their cat.

A parent doesn’t a own a child; they’re only leasing them for a while.

Give me time and I can find the right convolution to explain why none of us owns anything, and all of us are thiefs.

Now, this is fun!

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