Comic Book Writer Mark Waid Defends Copying, Points To The Value Of The Public Domain
from the good-for-him dept
Jaime points us to the news that famed comic writer Mark Waid gave a keynote talk at the comics’ Harvey Awards event over the weekend, where he apparently gave a stirring defense of unauthorized downloading, content sharing and the public domain:
Mark Waid’s keynote speech at the Harvey Awards at Baltimore Comics Con last night started by pointing out that copyright was all about putting work into the public domain, rather than preserving it for company ownership, and the concept of public domain should be embraced again. That illegal downloading is inevitable leading to a new culture of sharing. Lines such as “culture is more important than copyright” and “there are more ideas in one week at your comic shop than three years in Hollywood.”
The report at Bleeding Cool does note that not everyone in attendance was pleased with Waid’s talk, with Sergio Aragones apparently confronting Waid about his talk, declaring that “you don’t just give your work away,” and getting into a bit of a heated argument before Waid walked away.
Assuming these reports are accurate, it looks like Aragones totally missed the point of Waid’s talk. No one’s saying that you “just” give your work away. Those of us who have been writing about this stuff for a while are talking about creating larger communities and business models that include giving stuff away as a part of that effort. Trying to simplify it down to “oh just give it away, huh?” is wrong and misleading. Besides, note that Aragones seems to have missed the key factual points in Waid’s talk: which is that copyright has always been about putting works into the public domain. It’s too bad some people just react so negatively to factual portrayals of copyright law that they lash out at the messenger.
Update: Some of the other reports on the talk suggest that Waid and Aragones “hugged it out” after their confrontation, and that Aragones’ complaint is that “free” devalues work. This is a common, if misguided point. The value of the work remains the same. The problem is when you confuse price and value. Price gets driven by the real demands of the market, but is not the same as value. Waid’s point is that you can’t fight what’s happening, so why not embrace it — a message we obviously believe strongly in here.