Director Jean-Luc Godard Says 'There's No Such Thing As Intellectual Property,' Donates To MP3 Downloader's Defense

from the good-for-him dept

Robert Ring was the first of a bunch of you to send in this BoingBoing post highlighting how famed movie director Jean-Luc Godard doesn’t believe in the concept of “intellectual property,” and has also contributed 1,000 euros to a French citizen who has been sued for unauthorized sharing of over 13,000 MP3s. The key quote from Godard in highlighting why he’s supporting this guy:

I am against Hadopi [the French internet-copyright law, or its attendant agency], of course. There is no such thing as intellectual property. I’m against the inheritance [of works], for example. An artist’s children could benefit from the copyright of their parents’ works, say, until they reach the age of majority… But afterward, it’s not clear to me why Ravel’s children should get any income from Bolero…

It’s always nice when successful content creators, who could just suck up to the monopoly privileges the government grants them, recognize that such things may create greater problems for society and culture, and are willing to speak out about it — or, even better, to put their money behind their beliefs.

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Comments on “Director Jean-Luc Godard Says 'There's No Such Thing As Intellectual Property,' Donates To MP3 Downloader's Defense”

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52 Comments
fogbugzd (profile) says:

Ravel's children

>>But afterward, it’s not clear to me why Ravel’s children should get any income from Bolero…

The only reason is so that Disney can keep copyright on Cinderella.

Big media has been behind the extension of copyright. The dependents of artist are used as poster children. If big media could figure out a way to extend corporate copyright and cut out the children they would do it in a minute.

average_joe says:

I am against Hadopi [the French internet-copyright law, or its attendant agency], of course. There is no such thing as intellectual property. I’m against the inheritance [of works], for example. An artist’s children could benefit from the copyright of their parents’ works, say, until they reach the age of majority… But afterward, it’s not clear to me why Ravel’s children should get any income from Bolero…

It seems to me like he contradicts himself. At first he says there’s no such thing as intellectual property (which is itself untrue–there clearly is such a thing). And then he apparently is OK with an artist’s children benefiting from IP until the age of majority–so he’s OK with IP, at least for a period of time. He can’t have it both ways.

It doesn’t make a lot of sense, but hey, if anti-IP people want to call this a victory, then by all means. Whatever floats your boat.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re:

It’s worth noticing that the quote is from a translation of the original French, so arguing semantics is pretty pointless for us non-Francophones – there’s definite 2 different connotations depending on whether you read the Google or human translation.

Anyway, the interpretation I took away from were these:

1. He doesn’t believe that IP exists.

2. That if it does exist for any length of time, there has to be a limit and not the indefinite period currently being pushed by IP maximalists.

They’re both opinions, of course, but here we see yet another conflict between the IP industry who claim “for the artists” and artists themselves.

RD says:

Re: Lemme emphasize that to help you out there....

“It seems to me like he contradicts himself. At first he says there’s no such thing as intellectual property (which is itself untrue–there clearly is such a thing). And then he apparently is OK with an artist’s children benefiting from IP until the age of majority–so he’s OK with IP, at least for a period of time. He can’t have it both ways.”

Well that might be the case if you actually read what he said with any kind of reading comprehension with regard to the manner in which people phrase things. Let me help you with that by emphasizing the key words in his statement:

“An artist’s children ***COULD*** benefit from the copyright of their parents’ works, ***SAY***, until they reach the age of majority… But afterward, it’s not clear to me why Ravel’s children should get any income from Bolero…”

This was AN EXAMPLE he was giving. He was essentially saying “you know, I could see it if it was XXXX, maybe, but even then, I really dont believe in IP and this system of perpetual and infinite rights that never end.”

And no, there IS NO SUCH THING AS INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY. Please get this through your thick troll head. IP is an INVENTED term, not something inherent to the human condition. In addition, it is NOT CODIFIED IN LAW anywhere. Its simply a catch-all term created by rights holders to easily describe a set of several laws (copyright, trademark, etc) together with the intent to turn weak minds (thats you) to accepting it as if its a natural law or something.

average_joe says:

Re: Re: Lemme emphasize that to help you out there....

There’s no need to act like a child. Good grief.

So it’s OK to him if the children can collect until the age of majority. That’s IP, not the lack of IP.

And there is such a thing as IP, invented or not. It’s silly to pretend like it doesn’t exist.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Lemme emphasize that to help you out there....

His point (I think) is that even if there is a law outlining or defining something called “intellectual property” (I’m not aware of any), that thing is not, in fact, property. No matter what you call it. So it’s not pretending at all to say there’s no such thing as intellectual property.

coldbrew says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Lemme emphasize that to help you out there....

You are going to try and convince someone that has chosen the field know as IP law to admit there is no suck thing as IPlaw? 3 years of school, loads of debt, and the prospect of a good salary are a lot to contend with. His entire future income is predicated on its existence.

Brian says:

Re: Re: Lemme emphasize that to help you out there....

The native indians said “One does not sell the land people walk on.” And yet it has been sold again and again beneath their feet, or even more have been evicted from the areas to accomodate the land’s new “owners” so they can be put on “reservations”.

Certainly intellectual property is merely an idea, just as is property itself, such as land ownership. However, unless we live in communal villages where there are no costs for things and no taxes, we will have to barter with what we have.

For some it is land, material wealth. For others it is their creativity. A person deserves to be compensated for their contribution, be it material or otherwise. Even this site wouldn’t exist if the hosting bill wasn’t paid for, now would it?

Paul Renault (profile) says:

Re: Re: Lemme emphasize that to help you out there....

I’m PaulR, who translated the text on BoingBoing..:

“Il n’y a pas de propri?t? intellectuelle. Je suis contre l’h?ritage, par exemple.”

In the first sentence, Godard says that intellectual creations aren’t property in the usual sense of the word: houses, pocketknives, bags of carrots. Thus, in the second sentence, to illustrate this point he says he doesn’t believe that copyright should be inheritable.

He does add” “Que les enfants d’un artiste puissent b?n?ficier des droits de l’oeuvre de leurs parents, pourquoi pas jusqu’? leur majorit?…)

He is willing to concede that the creators’ children could/should [I don’t have the text that the ellipsis replaces] continue to receive copyright payments until they reach the age of majority. But afterwards? No.

He does NOT say, or even imply that the creator should not benefit for his/her works – to those of y’all who insist on repeating this straw man, the original text is quite clear.

But he doesn’t believe that copyright should be treated as property.

average_joe says:

Re: Re: Re: Lemme emphasize that to help you out there....

That makes more sense, thanks, but he’s still contradicting himself. If he doesn’t think it should be heritable, then he should be totally opposed to the author’s children receiving payments for their parent’s work. What he’s trying to say is that he’s for shorter copyright terms. Also, if the author and the author’s children are to benefit from the work, then presumably he’s talking about it happening via exclusive rights. In other words, the work will be treated like property. Of course intellectual property and regular property are different–that’s not a controversial thing to say.

So basically here’s what he’s saying:

(1) IP rights shouldn’t be heritable, except for when they’re heritable.

(2) IP shouldn’t be treated like property, except for when it’s treated like property.

(3) IP is different than regular property, except for the ways that it’s the same.

This guy’s great!

Paul Renault (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Lemme emphasize that to help you out there....

Godard doesn’t think there is such a thing as IP. Do I need to repeat it?

Maybe: Godard doesn’t think there is such a thing as IP. He believes you can’t treat copyright in the same way you treat property.

The key to understanding the nuance is in the French text: “par exemple” (for example) in “Je suis contre l’h?ritage, par exemple.”.

He’s talking about copyright, not IP. Again, Godard doesn’t believe that there is such a thing as IP

He doesn’t have a problem with copyright for the creator’s lifetime. Nor for extending the copyright to cover the creator’s children until they reach the age of majority.

Say basically here’s what he’s saying:

(1) There is no such thing as IP;

(2) Copyright should end when the creator dies, plus maybe a maximum of 18 years, for the children;

(3) A creator’s work(s) should not thought of as property, since there’s no such thing as IP;

(4) HADOPI is a bad idea/institution;

(5) There is no such thing as IP;

(6) He thinks filesharing is OK; and he’s put his money where his mouth is by donating 1,000 eurosn to James Climent to help pay his fine;

(7) There is no such thing as IP.

Brian says:

Ravel's Children

So if Ravel’s descendants don’t get any money from Bolero, then are they then surrendering that money to the corporate interests who surely would continue to profit from it? Or are we to expect that Bolero will be distributed en masse to the public for free at the expense of these businesses for the sheer love of it?

Ideology aside, there is a practical component to profit motive and for intellectual property. The answer lies in fairness and balance, not dispensing with IP altogether!

Brian says:

IMDB Credits

If there was no IP law, how much would he have earned from the movies he’s credited for: 93 movies as director, 78 as writer, 41 as editor, 36 as actor, etc?

Had there been no IP law, those numbers might not have been even into a dozen, since the studios could have just produced his scripts without his permission and no compensation for anything more than just his time showing up on set.

He would have had to resort to having a “regular job” to pay the bills and had no momentum in filmmaking.

Anonymous Coward says:

“For others it is their creativity. A person deserves to be compensated for their contribution, be it material or otherwise.”

People should get paid by the work they do, not for work done that is just a perversion that was allowed to happen.

More those contributions in the realm of the intangible are really just ideas and nobody should own ideas ever it blocks the productive path and inhibits learning.

Anonymous Coward says:

he still contradicts himself, and invalidates his own point
you cant be against it, and then allow “the children” to get a free paycheck for 18 or 21 years for something they had nothing to do with, that’s keeping the status quot.

Law?? no, IP is not a legal definition, its a word used to lump in trade marks, patents, copyright, etc… IP should never be used, use the appropriate legal term to describe what your talking about, stop scaring the children with invented umbrella words

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

How does he contradict himself? Copyright != IP. One is a government-mandated monopoly on the distribution of creative works. The other is a completely fictitious creation by the big publishers being used to try and force unreasonable terms for copyright thru the legal system, just so they can lock things up to where they can make money off something for eternity +70 years. I’ll let you figure out which is which…

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