Friday, May 22, 2009

The Perversity of Copyright

This is another cross-post, but I wanted to save it before the UBC writing boards got rebooted for the upcoming year.

Cory Doctorow has gone and made some more sense in The Guardian today with an article where the title really tells us the whole story - When love is harder to show than hate.

[O]ne of the most perverse elements of copyright law [is] the reality that loving something doesn't confer any right to make it a part of your creative life.

And there's the rub. Like those little kids who loved all things Harry Potter, who probably bought every book, paid full admission for every theatre ticket, and even paid for official Harry Potter (TM) merchandise, who were then treated like base thieves for writing about what they loved and trying to be more a part of that universe themselves.

How completely messed up is that?

I myself have paid some $250 on Harry Potter books, and close to that on theatre admission, and then I paid a further $200 for the DVDs. All told, Rowling Enterprises has pulled a good $600 out of my pocket. Not a massive fortune, no, but since there are so many people like me out there doing the same thing, it adds up quickly. To the tune of over a billion for just Rowling herself.

At that level, you'd think a little magnanimity would be in order. Say, something like "I've probably earned enough quid for the next little while. Why don;t you all take this and have fun with it."

But no. It's business, and as for that $600 and what it allows me to do? I can pay that for a Playstation 3 and go online and go hog wild writing about how great the system is, designing my perfect imaginary game, and no one would blink. I could buy $600 worth of Coca-Cola, give it to all and sundry, write Coca-Cola themed stories and blog about Coca-Cola themed recipes, and all that would happen is the company giving me a thumbs up for helping out brand awareness, and maybe they'd throw a few cases in for good measure. Yet were I to wax rhapsodic on Harry and 'is chums, and maybe pen a little piece about how Harry and his pals went on a field trip on day, and 'ol J.K's pitbulls would be feasting on my kneecaps in no time.

That's some seriously messed up stuff.

No comments:

Post a Comment