Share/E-mail This Story

Email This



The Myth Of The Original Content Creator

from the what's-original? dept

A few people have directed my attention to copyright lawyer Mark Fischer's review of Larry Lessig's most recent book, Remix. The review is worth reading -- and there are some points on which I agree with Fischer -- particularly with the near impossibility of separating commercial use from non-commercial use. While Fischer seems sympathetic to the idea that there are some problems with copyright law, he keeps going back to one central idea that is the core of his problem with Lessig's book: that allowing others to remix content without getting permission potentially harms the "original creator."

This is a myth that is all too often found in IP law -- both in patents and in copyrights. This concept of the "original creator" of a piece of work. All works are built on those that came before. All works are inspired by and use bits and pieces of what they've learned or what they've seen, heard and felt. Pretending that there is a true original creator who deserves credit, money or control is a problem -- because it means no new creative works could be done without getting permission. That would be a tremendous hindrance on creation -- rather than progress (as the Constitution intends).

But because of this false belief in an original creator, Fischer creates some tradeoffs that don't really occur. Specifically, he notes:
If we move toward making content free for copying, distribution and remixing, the professional creators and their distributors will have an even tougher future. Erosion of the copyright system comes at a price. If we have to choose between encouraging original creativity and remixing, why not err on the side of encouraging the originators?
There are multiple problems with this statement. It makes the assumption that allowing free copying of your works makes it harder to earn money. Yet, that's not what we're seeing at all. Those who put in place smart business models have found that it's even easier to make make a lot more money than in the previous method. Erosion of the copyright system does not come at a price. It merely changes the business model around, and opens up tremendous new opportunities. And that's for everyone because it makes the process of building on the works of others easier -- and since all creativity really does come from building on the works of others, then creativity has the ability to flourish.

So, let's get rid of this myth that there's some "original content creator" and that said "original content creator" needs to be "protected." Neither point is true. Every content creator is building on the works of others, and there are plenty of business models that can be put in place easily that don't require "protection" at all. It may be more difficult for someone who makes their living helping enforce those protections to see it, but we're seeing it every day. Why block off all those innovative new content creators just because of a couple of myths?


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Simon, Feb 12th, 2009 @ 9:07am

    Pah!

    How wrong can you be? Everyone knows that the original content creator is the person who can afford the best lawyers.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Chronno S. Trigger, Feb 12th, 2009 @ 9:26am

    Original Content Creator?

    I realized all this when I was in junior high school. In English class they asked us to wright an original short story for a project. I wrote one and described it to my teacher as "a collection and mesh of every story I've read" She thought it was the best (and most "original") in the class.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    RD, Feb 12th, 2009 @ 9:26am

    Ok so...

    ...I got to college to learn how to write (author) or program (computer) lets say. I use what I learn from that to "Create" something. Under this newer view of copyright every keeps trying to foist off (incorrectly) that means I should have to either a) pay them for using their "ideas" or b) be sued for what I "stole" from them. Is it any wonder groups like the *IAA's get away with all the garbage they do, with thinking like that? And before you jump in and say "strawman! college learning doesnt apply!" I point you to an article a few days ago on this site about univeristies locking up patents and anything produced by people working there. Its only one small step from that (work made while AT the university) to this (work made as a RESULT of being at the university).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    hegemon13, Feb 12th, 2009 @ 9:31am

    Other business models for writers

    Mike - This is not an attack on your ideas, but genuine curiosity.

    You have a lot of great ideas for musicians making money by distributing their music for free. You have even had some ideas for film. However, I would be curious about your thoughts on the fiction writer. An author is a writer, not a performer, so he has no equivalent to the musician's concert. Book readings don't exactly draw concert-level crowds. And even when they do, the author makes money not from the performance, but by using the performance to sell...books. Books are not visual, so except for rare, highly-commercialized cases like Harry Potter, merchandise does not sell well. For example, Stephen King is one of the highest-paid authors in the world, but how much merchandise do you see in comparison to an equivalently successful band or movie? Not much!

    So, what complimentary products or markets are available to the fiction writer as an income source if the work is distributed freely? I have seen your example of the sci-fi publisher who gives away free ebooks, which in turn cause their book sales to rise. However, that still relies on the book (the increasingly infinite good) as the income source.

    I am not saying solutions don't exist. I just have no idea what they would be. A post with your thoughts would be great!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    eleete, Feb 12th, 2009 @ 9:36am

    Incentive

    If we have to choose between encouraging original creativity and remixing, why not err on the side of encouraging the originators?

    Why does incentive always come down to a dollar sign ? I guess in this case it makes sense because it is a lawyer. I find that sometimes simply getting a problem solved, is the single greatest incentive. Suppose someone came up with an idea (based on economic education and experience) mixed with some sense and logic that solved the financial crisis in 6 months. Nothing is new, it is a combination of tried and true existing creations. Great you would say. Now let's give this person a monopoly on that plan, and perhaps let him patent it or copyright it. Being that the single person with the plan has full control of that plan, that total control is the problem. How useful is it if he wants to charge 12 Trillion dollars ? How useful is it if his lawyers tell him to hold out for 24 trillion? AND if no one pays, he sues everyone even coming close to the methods in his plan. Sometimes, to the point where an existing creation 'mistakenly' gets attributed to him through the courts, giving him even More control.

    Now, some will say the value will be determined by the markets, but as the markets fail further and further, the 'creators' ransom/tax will become essential. Great for the creator, awful for the public domain?

    Again, I have felt such a great rush sometimes writing programs to actually DO something. Solve a problem, sort a list correctly, fish through mounds of data to return cohesive Information. There is no financial incentive or encouragement necessary, sometimes I NEED TO GET SOMETHING DONE. Whether for my business or personal use.

    Sounds like this attorney likes the tollbooth in my path when I go to get creative. At exorbitant expense to me the creator. This ENSURES that only large content providers can truly be creative because they will be the only ones who can afford to create or innovate. Is that the encouragement he speaks of ? As demonstrated, the tollbooth and the related rules ARE the problem. They ARE what stiffles creativity and innovation.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Matt, Feb 12th, 2009 @ 9:37am

    Re: Other business models for writers

    why are you asking him to do the work for you? He has created the insight community is out there for exactly this. http://www.insightcommunity.com/

    There are tons and tons of ways to market books far beyond the book itself, and merchandise is just a subset of a way to garner a little extra.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    LostSailor, Feb 12th, 2009 @ 9:48am

    The Myth that Ideas Can Be Copyrighted

    All works are built on those that came before. All works are inspired by and use bits and pieces of what they've learned or what they've seen, heard and felt. Pretending that there is a true original creator who deserves credit, money or control is a problem -- because it means no new creative works could be done without getting permission.

    Let's first get right of the myth that inspiration or even using "bits" of what you've seen, heard, and felt has anything to do with copyright. It doesn't. Ideas are not copyrightable. Period. Never have been.

    However, the specific expression of an idea, unless plagiarizing, is indeed "original content" produced by an "original content creator."

    Too often around these parts the difference between an idea and a specific expression of that idea are confused. It is this difference that allows many new creative works to be produced without getting "permission" for the concepts and ideas.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    SomeGuy, Feb 12th, 2009 @ 9:58am

    Re: Other business models for writers

    So, the book CONTENTS are infinite, yes, but the books aren't. They're a physical object with a base cost to produce and some inherent value. even with the rise of the Kindle there are plenty of people who are interested in having the physical book, and there are aspects of a book that can't be reproduced digitally (y'know, like texture and styling and stuff). So I don't think books are going away any time soon and it makes sense to have authors try selling them.

    (I also think it makes sense for musicians to sell CDs, but they need something beyond the content to add value to the CD.)

    Some other things that have been tossed around are charging for the creation of a new book, like how some musicians have had their albums funded by fans (when I reach $X, I'll write the book) or having someone pay you flat out to write a book (though I'll admit i'm not exactly sure how that'd work out). There's also the ability to sell yourself for talks or conferences or anything else where your writing talent and opinions -- as popularized through your written works -- are valued.

    These are all ideas that have been tossed around on TechDirt before.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Tom, Feb 12th, 2009 @ 9:59am

    Ideas vs. products

    Original creator of an particular idea can certainly be viewed as a fallacy. I'm wondering what you would think of the situation of Acme Engineering who hires dozens of engineers, chemists, analysts, etc. and they come up with a valid, room temperature superconducting ceramic. They spend millions refining the concept and production method, but I can take it and use it in my new version of an electric car without asking or anything?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    SomeGuy, Feb 12th, 2009 @ 10:01am

    Re: The Myth that Ideas Can Be Copyrighted

    So what parts of Harry Potter are the specific expression, rather than the idea? Can I write about a boy-wizard at a fantastic school outside of Chicago?

    The fact that there is confusion between "the idea" and "an expression" is, I think, evidence that the system needs to be tuned better, if not redesigned entirely.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    LostSailor, Feb 12th, 2009 @ 10:01am

    Re: Other business models for writers

    Implementing the complete "give away the content for free/charge for 'scarcities'" model is unlikely to work well for books, especially fiction for a number of reasons, but there is at least anecdotal evidence that allowing free downloading of digital copies of books, even novels, can help stimulate the market for print copies in some cases.

    But even there, the goal is to sell more physical copies of books, which will remain the primary revenue stream for authors.

    As for selling the 'scarcity' of an author's time, most authors are lucky to get readings or signings scheduled at all, and if they do, lucky to get a decent turnout. Sure, the best-selling authors can have lines out the door, but there's nothing more depressing that seeing an author sitting at a table piled with books in a Barnes & Noble with no readers/customers. I've seen that a lot.

    As a practical matter, books aren't going to go away soon (digital enthusiasts have been predicting the demise of the printed book for nearly 20 years now, and I expect they'll be predicting the same thing 20 years hence).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    David Canton, Feb 12th, 2009 @ 10:07am

    original content creator

    Legal precedents for contracts (think of a click-wrap agreement or an office lease) have developed over the years without lawyers laying claim to any "original content", or improvements to them. Lawyers know we don't want to go down that road, as we all use prior work of others and add to it, an are not surprised when our language shows up elsewhere. To take any other approach just wouldn't work. Who knew us lawyers have been doing mash-ups for centuries?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 12th, 2009 @ 10:09am

    Re: Other business models for writers

    Obscurity is the most dangerous thing to an Author. When I go to B&N, unless you're Terry Pratchet or Neil Gaiman, you're just another faceless name in a sea of shelves. Being able to give your works away digitally gets you the exposure you need to break away from that, so that yours is a name I look for when scanning the shelves. The details are hard, yeah, but it's an important step to make.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 12th, 2009 @ 10:12am

    Re: Ideas vs. products

    Yes. And we hope you will be so kind as to not complain when they do they same to the ideas which you went to great expense to create yourself.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    SomeGuy, Feb 12th, 2009 @ 10:15am

    Re: Ideas vs. products

    I can take it and use it in my new version of an electric car without asking

    Actually pretty interesting.

    How do you propose to take it, though? I mean, are you buying the chip from them? They probably won't have a problem with that. Or do you mean building your own manufacturing plant? I mean, they've already perfected the method of production, even if you could figure out what they were doing, you'd be behind them while you came up to speed. And if they have all the engineers and you're just playing "me too," they're the ones that'll come out with Superconductor 2.0, not you.

    And yeah, you can just 'take' that, too, but you'll always be playing catch up, you'll never understand it as well as them, and you'd probably be better off putting your efforts elsewhere, unless there's something about your car that you actually do better than them.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 12th, 2009 @ 10:28am

    Re: Pah!

    The true original content creator is God (if you believe), and He doesn't charge for the use of His creation. Though, He does ask for donations, I hear.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    eleete, Feb 12th, 2009 @ 10:41am

    Re: Re: Ideas vs. products

    Imagine the infinite creativity we could unleash by such a simple concept. It's really not hard if you try. So much would OPEN up to you that would also be OPEN to me. That is exponential power, creativity and innovation.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 12th, 2009 @ 10:59am

    Re: Re: Pah!

    Can God create a lawyer He can't afford?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    zcat, Feb 12th, 2009 @ 11:05am

    Re: Other business models for writers

    Perhaps it would be more appropriate to direct that question to Cory Doctrow or Eric Flint, who are in fact both making a good living as Fiction Writers, while also making their work available as an electronic download for Free. Google either name and you will easily find them.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    Griffon, Feb 12th, 2009 @ 11:09am

    Depends on what is original

    I'm not sure I agree with this idea that there are no original creators. I'm fine with not useing their existance as a prop argument to slow down innovation, but regardless of influence every photograph shot, page drawn, or painting created is unique by definition. A look at the endless effort that has gone in to recreate a Ansal Adams shot of half dome (and the utter failure to do so) really can show how unique a work can be. I think you painted with to broad of a brush here. I'm not arguing for protection just that brushing original creative works aside by saying they are not original because all portraits are some inspired by previous one's doesn't really past muster.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    identicon
    zcat, Feb 12th, 2009 @ 11:14am

    Re: Ideas vs. products

    I'm rather inclined to ask in return what you would think about the situation of IBM who hire a hundred or so programmers full time and spend millions to write operating system code. How would they survive if that code was immediately given away for free and could be used, with no royalty payments whatsoever, by their competitors?

    Because they seem to be doing fairly well.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    LostSailor, Feb 12th, 2009 @ 11:19am

    Re: Re: The Myth that Ideas Can Be Copyrighted

    Can I write about a boy-wizard at a fantastic school outside of Chicago?

    Sure. Happens all the time, especially in genre fiction. It would be a good idea to come up with different names and characteristics for characters, places, and, for example, spells used by your boy-wizard, but as long as you're not copying Rowling (as opposed to loosely paralleling the ideas), you'd likely be fine.

    The fact that there is confusion between "the idea" and "an expression" is, I think, evidence that the system needs to be tuned better, if not redesigned entirely.

    The distinction between idea and specific expression has been a core part of the "system" all along. Of course, there will always be someone who will try to push the envelope to claim protection of content that is properly an unprotected idea, but that doesn't mean copyright is at fault.

    Rowling might try to sue over your boy-wizard story, but if you're original enough (the primary issue in the fan lexicon case), she couldn't win.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    identicon
    JB, Feb 12th, 2009 @ 11:20am

    Original Creator

    I wonder how I would go about acquiring a general use license from God? After all, according to a large segment of the world, he is the original creator of all things.

    Religion aside, couldn't someone just start running through all the ideas and innovations that led up the the creation in question; showing very easily how anything and everything has been created based on the creations before?

    Your honor, let the records show that the creation in question is a logical step from the following selected lineage of creations: sounds, words, spoken language, shapes, written language, mathematics, telephony, electronic computing, multiprocessing, graphical interfaces, user input devices, set theory, high-level programming language, operating system design, packet-switched networks, error correction and control algorithms, integrated development environments, and compilations of aggregated symbols with associated meanings and pronunciation (dictionary).

    Your honor, is it feasible to require consent from the original creators for all these creations from which the questioned creation is derived? Also, where is the line drawn? Must my parents have received legal consent from their parents to reproduce?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    identicon
    darkuncle, Feb 12th, 2009 @ 11:21am

    Exhibit A, courtesy Penny-Arcade

    http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2003/09/08/

    gabe & tycho hit the nail on the head, as usual.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 12th, 2009 @ 11:24am

    Re: Re: Other business models for writers

    As for selling the 'scarcity' of an author's time, most authors are lucky to get readings or signings scheduled at all, and if they do, lucky to get a decent turnout.

    That's probably because most aren't very good.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    identicon
    darkuncle, Feb 12th, 2009 @ 11:28am

    Re: Re: Other business models for writers

    very much the case - I just finished reading the free version of Cory Doctorow's /Little Brother/ on my phone, and liked it so much I went out and bought (the last) two copies at the local Barnes & Noble and gave one to my teenage nephew. You may lose a bit in potential sales by giving it away for free, but my experience as a consumer at least is that the word of mouth generated more than makes up for it. I think Cory Doctorow would agree.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 12th, 2009 @ 11:37am

    Re: The Myth that Ideas Can Be Copyrighted

    Let's first get right of the myth that inspiration or even using "bits" of what you've seen, heard, and felt has anything to do with copyright. It doesn't. Ideas are not copyrightable. Period. Never have been.

    Now let's get rid of your straw man. Where in the quote you copied (horrors!) does it say "copyright"? Let me give you a clue: nowhere. However, the article as a whole talks about both copyrights and patents. To try to dismiss it because copyrights don't apply to ideas alone (and the article didn't say that they do) is a pretty obvious straw man argument.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    identicon
    zcat, Feb 12th, 2009 @ 11:42am

    Re: Re: Other business models for writers

    If you're looking for a 'copyright-free' model that works, you could also try writing a series of novels in a way that your audience 'must have' the next book as soon as it comes out.

    Real-world example, Government reports are 'public domain' and freely available for download from the moment they're released, but it takes time (usually months, apparently) to set up the presses and get something printed. If you're given a head-start and get the book to market before anyone else you can make a very nice profit in those two weeks; http://money.cnn.com/2007/01/29/magazines/fortune/government_publishing.fortune/index.htm

    It's true J K Rowling would probably not do as well as she does currently, but going by the Government Printing example and the lines outside bookstores with the release of every new Rowling book, I firmly believe she could have made a very respectable profit off each of the later Harry Potter books even with no copyright whatsoever.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    identicon
    LostSailor, Feb 12th, 2009 @ 11:44am

    Re: Re: Re: Other business models for writers

    That's probably because most aren't very good.

    In your opinion. To convince a bookstore (where many reading and most signings take place) to even schedule an author appearance, the author usually has to already have a good sales record, indicating that a sufficient number of people--even if not you--think they're "good" or they wouldn't be there. Even then getting even those people who think a writer is good to turn out to these events can be difficult for any but the top bestselling authors.

    And I'm sure you'll fine plenty of folk who think that those bestselling authors "aren't very good." Subjective determinations of supposed quality aren't usually germane.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    identicon
    Sid G., Feb 12th, 2009 @ 11:49am

    Content can be created

    I think it harms your cause when you argue that there is no such thing as original content creation. It actually makes you sound like you are trying to justify the theft of any content for any reason. While I agree that the RIAA and the MPAA are idiots, and that the patent laws are in serious need of a reality check, I don't think decreeing all content derivative and therefore free is even remotely realistic. If an author writes a piece of fiction and someone inspired by that fiction writes a parody or a review that is one thing, if they copy it word for word and put their name on it that is another. your argument would allow that to be an acceptable practice. Fair use of a piece of music is a hard thing to quantify, but that doesn't mean that we should just say that any use is fair use. The artist and their agents do have the right to use the music to create revenue. If we don't like the restrictions they put on it, that still doesn't morally or legally justify ignoring their rights and telling them to figure out how to make money off of it some other way. Anything can be taken to an extreme that ends up harming the intent of the law. We need to change the laws, not ignore them.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 12th, 2009 @ 11:53am

    Re: Depends on what is original

    ...every photograph shot, page drawn, or painting created is unique by definition.

    Well, I suppose that would depend on how loosely you define "unique". To use your Ansel Adams example, did Adams create the half dome formation from which he derived his photograph? I seriously doubt it. Did he invent photography? I doubt that as well. Now while it is certainly true that his photograph contains some unique elements (and it is a very good work), it is not without outside influence.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 12th, 2009 @ 12:02pm

    Re: Content can be created

    I think it harms your cause when...

    Umm, what is this "cause"?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
    identicon
    eleete, Feb 12th, 2009 @ 12:03pm

    Re: Re: Ideas vs. products

    I can tell you as a programmer, that most anything you wished to develop in operating systems, it's been tried before. The fact that they 'stand on the shoulders of giants' insures they are not doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past. In open source, they could freely grab an existing operating system complete, and use what they wished out of it, providing they return it back to open source. So that example falls pretty short on my ears. Question is, what if car company WMB wanted to start developing an operating system (from scratch as you assumed) how much in attorneys fees would it cost to research EVERY SINGLE feature and element of the OS at the USPTO AND clear copyrights, as code is covered by both currently. What you preach would insure that only the largest of companies could afford to innovate. That goes against the grain of IP's intention in the Constitution.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
    identicon
    eleete, Feb 12th, 2009 @ 12:07pm

    Re: Re: Depends on what is original

    Awww man, you forgot the best part, did he invent LIGHT. Photo = light graphy = study of. Absolutely he was the best at his craft, but he climbed the same ranks as all the others before his time. I bet if you could ask him, even he would have trouble making the distinctions to his own contributions. Rather, the more he taught it, was questioned on it, observed others observations... The greater his success and knowledge.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 12th, 2009 @ 12:09pm

    Re: Content can be created

    "If an author writes a piece of fiction and someone inspired by that fiction writes a parody or a review that is one thing, if they copy it word for word and put their name on it that is another. your argument would allow that to be an acceptable practice."

    Sid,
    Would you please point out exactly where Mike said that plagiarism is an acceptable practice? If not, then why are you here making false accusations?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36.  
    identicon
    Chronno S. Trigger, Feb 12th, 2009 @ 12:38pm

    Re: Content can be created

    Mike isn't speaking of something as seemingly back and white as plagiarism but of something a little more blurry. He speaks of situations like how one musician sues another over 6 notes in a song or how an author sues over the use of a name and occupation. In these examples the musician or author believe that they own the idea of those vary small things, where those vary small things were probably created under the influence of another musician or author.

    We have passed Music, stories, jokes down threw the generations for eons and they have always been shared freely. To lock these peaces of our culture, our history, up behind some false belief in an original creator (not including god here) is not only insulting to our ancestors but damaging to our offspring.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37.  
    identicon
    LostSailor, Feb 12th, 2009 @ 12:53pm

    Re: Re: The Myth that Ideas Can Be Copyrighted

    You're a little quick to construct your man of straw (and it's definitely yours, not mine).

    As you indicate, the whole context of the post is copyright and the concept of "original content". Outside of the context of copyright, any discussion of whether content can be "original" or is always derivative is like arguing how many angels can dance on a pin.

    If you can't get that, conversation is useless.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38.  
    identicon
    hegemon13, Feb 12th, 2009 @ 2:19pm

    Re: Other business models for writers

    Great suggestions, everyone. So it seems that books would probably have to remain the primary revenue stream, which is the conclusion I kept returning to, as well. I also agree that physical books probably won't go anywhere for a long time. I am a gadget freak, but the thought of giving up books for ebooks makes me ill. I just hope I'm right. If books do go primarily digital, I can't think of much besides a commissioned work model that would provide scarcity alongside a book.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39.  
    identicon
    eleete, Feb 12th, 2009 @ 2:39pm

    Re: Re: Other business models for writers

    A library. Congress has one, what stops me from checking out a book on anything ?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40.  
    identicon
    eleete, Feb 12th, 2009 @ 4:01pm

    WHY should YOU be concluded ?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41.  
    identicon
    cram, Feb 12th, 2009 @ 4:33pm

    cory

    For all those who are fond of dragging Cory Doctorow into any discussion on writers and copyright:

    "Doctorow's other novels use Creative Commons licenses that prohibit derived works and commercial usage and have followed the model of making digital versions available, without charge, at the same time that the print versions are published." - from Wikipedia

    See, even Cory doesn't want people to commercially benefit or create derived works from his work, because it would harm his livelihood.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  42.  
    identicon
    Sid G., Feb 12th, 2009 @ 6:12pm

    Re: Re: Content can be created

    ...That would seem to be the reasonable use of IP and the restructuring of our insane IP laws so that content and knowledge can be more freely available, creativity can be encouraged, and the quality of everyone's life can be enriched instead of being put back in to the dark ages when knowledge was the domain of the few rich men who could afford it. I applaud these goals, but I feel it can be done without breaking the law or penalizing those who do share their content with the world by demeaning their creations with the sophomoric argument that it is derivative. Yes, I may write these words in English, but it doesn't mean that they are somehow less than my own. That's why I proudly afix my name instead of anonymous to my opinions.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43.  
    identicon
    Sid G., Feb 12th, 2009 @ 6:23pm

    Re: Re: Content can be created

    FTA- "All works are inspired by and use bits and pieces of what they've learned or what they've seen, heard and felt. Pretending that there is a true original creator who deserves credit, money or control is a problem" - If the statement doesn't seem to outright state that content is not attributable to a content creator and should be in any way controlled by them, then I may have misunderstood. I read that statement as an unconditional refusal to recognize a creator's rights to a work. I am not here making false accusations. I agree more than disagree with the author.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  44.  
    identicon
    JoJo, Feb 12th, 2009 @ 8:40pm

    There's a difference between collage, parody, a review, and a derivative work

    I usually agree with Techdirt, but when it comes to the arts Mike is clueless.

    There are huge differences between collage, parody, reviews, and derivative works.

    What we are really talking about here is collage. Everything else is fine. But for some reason (laziness? novelty?) collage has become extremely popular.

    The Internet has merely sharpened those differences because now mere mortals can distribute their works to the mass market - and mere mortals don't understand these differences either.

    Copyright laws across the world did a pretty good job at differentiating these types of works and ensuring that content creators got credit and revenue long before the Internet.

    The biggest difference from the past is that now you can make a "collage" and distribute it to the mass market. Big media would have never done that before - and apparently the mass audiences' appetite for collage has long festered. Personally I think the trend of collage is a novelty and will wear off in a couple of decades or at least in one generation thus ending this particular round of copyright battles.

    More nails in the coffin of collage will come when content gets easier to make and there's more competition. Content becomes easier to create every day and more and more players enter the Internet arena.

    No, the solution is not to rail against traditional copyright law but to instead embrace the culture of "sharing". An online community is developing of international artists who work together to create new works. The old media will always be old media. They will always rule the landscape. But the new media, the fringe, is the future of innovation.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  45.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 12th, 2009 @ 11:11pm

    Re: Re: Re: The Myth that Ideas Can Be Copyrighted

    As you indicate, the whole context of the post is copyright and the concept of "original content".

    I did not indicate that. You seem to have a reading comprehension problem. I indicated that the article talked about both copyrights and patents, not just copyrights. And patents definitely apply to ideas. So your objection that copyrights don't apply to ideas was indeed your own straw man, not mine.

    If you can't get that, conversation is useless.

    If you can't defend your ideas, then you may as well give up.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  46.  
    identicon
    George Bush, Feb 12th, 2009 @ 11:25pm

    Re: Re: Re: Content can be created

    That's why I proudly afix [sic] my name instead of anonymous to my opinions.

    Really? All you have for a last name is an initial? Are you related to Kenny G.? Because he's the only other person I know of with G. for a last name.

    - George

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  47.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 12th, 2009 @ 11:39pm

    Re: Re: Re: Content can be created

    "I read that statement as an unconditional refusal to recognize a creator's rights to a work."

    Copyright can be used to prevent other people making derivative works even if attribution is given. Attribution is no defense against copyright claims.

    Plagiarism has to do with claiming work as your own that is not. Attribution is definitely a defense against plagiarism claims.


    Copyright and plagiarism are two different things. Don't confuse them.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  48.  
    identicon
    Joe, Feb 13th, 2009 @ 12:25am

    Simpsons

    reminds me of a great line from the Simpsons - "If we don't steal ideas where are they going to come from?"

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  49.  
    identicon
    M13, Feb 13th, 2009 @ 9:23am

    Of course there is an original creator of a piece of work.

    There is some slopping thinking in the post above.

    "All works are built on those that came before." To be informed or inspired by the work of others is not the same thing as taking chunks of a previously existing work and using them in your own.

    "Pretending that there is a true original creator who deserves credit, money or control is a problem -- because it means no new creative works could be done without getting permission."

    No it doesn't. It means precisely the opposite. The more something is unlike its predecessors...the more new it is, the less need for concern of IP infringement exists.

    Denying original creators rights and compensation to their work is silly and dishonest. But stifling mash-up and remix creativity is silly and counterproductive. Honest people should be able to sort out who owns how much of a composite work.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  50.  
    identicon
    LostSailor, Feb 13th, 2009 @ 9:27am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: The Myth that Ideas Can Be Copyrighted

    I did not indicate that. You seem to have a reading comprehension problem. I indicated that the article talked about both copyrights and patents, not just copyrights. And patents definitely apply to ideas. So your objection that copyrights don't apply to ideas was indeed your own straw man, not mine.

    Talk about reading comprehension. The post mentions patents once and extensively discusses "original" content creation, which is an issue of copyright not patent.

    I didn't address patents because it's not an area where I have a lot to say. But patents are about protecting a process or invention, not content, and therefore are largely irrelevant to a discussion of whether content creation can be original or not.

    (For what it's worth, I tend to agree with Mike and others here that patents may be granted to liberally and are prone to give rise to sometimes absurd litigation. But patents and copyrights are two very different things.)

    If you can't defend your ideas, then you may as well give up.

    If you can't address the arguments I write rather than the arguments you think I should have written, you may as well give up.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  51.  
    identicon
    Steven Harper Piziks, Feb 15th, 2009 @ 7:46am

    Re: Incentive

    Why does incentive always come down to dollars? Because writers have children to feed, mortgages to pay, and utilities to pay. That's why. The magical copyright fairy doesn't wave her wand and say, "You write for love. Have a nice, fat sack of cash."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  52.  
    identicon
    Steven Harper Piziks, Feb 15th, 2009 @ 8:00am

    You're confusing premise with execution. Any number of authors have retold the Arthurian stories. Marion Bradley made millions on it with THE MISTS OF AVALON, and Sarah Zettel has done tidily with her own CAMELOT series. None of them have original premises, but the executions were all wildly original--and fully worthy of protection.

    By your measure, most romance novels aren't original either, since a fair number have a "boy finds girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl back again" story pattern. Just about every romantic subplot in my books have gone the same way, for that matter.

    Premises are not protected by copyright law. Copyright law protects how the words are strung together. Get your terms right, please. You have no idea what you're talking about.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  53.  
    identicon
    CHRISTINA DOELITZSCH, Mar 18th, 2010 @ 3:36pm

    ORIGINAL CREATOR MAY YOU BE BLESSED

    What if the person steals it WORD FOR WORD. I CREATED MAY YOU BE BLESSED in the 90's and it was copywritten under a compilation of poetry and lyrics by chris a doeltzsch.
    we were told anything that was created under this number need not be submitted but only notorized. I have that notorization.
    this woman kate nowak didn't take bits and pieces..
    SHE STOLE THE WHOLE THING,
    HAS A MILLION FOLLOWING HER AS THIS SPIRITUAL GURU
    ONLY HAS MAY YOU BE BLESSED WHERAS I HAVE MANY MANY WORKS SIMILAR TO MY STYLE THROUGHOUT THE YEARS AND EVEN AS A TEENAGER! HAS VIDEOS, BOOKS ALL ON MAY YOU BE BLESSED.
    WHAT THEN.
    WHY DO PEOPLE THINK THEY WON'T GET CAUGHT!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  54.  
    identicon
    shdfh..., Jul 26th, 2013 @ 6:33pm

    the true original invisible creator it...

    speed reading over these lines an sentences i sense a sense of IT ALL ...my belief is that the creator is in astate of walking coma at times goes in and out of what we would call power an jeany an bewitched would call magic ...2nd also som UNKNOWN AT THIS TIME amnesia ...third sleep walking
    when it comes out of this it will uncreate everything and recr5eate it better like religious heaven and mythilogical newre and better golden ages reasonably speaking and superiotious an tempestuous power ...bidding us all now a fond adeu
    grati merci and thanks...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This