Mudcat Café message #158525 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #16566   Message #158525
Posted By: Chet W.
05-Jan-00 - 04:16 PM
Thread Name: 'Should auld copyrights be forgot ?'
Subject: RE: BS: 'Should auld copyrights be forgot ?'
Peeve on, my friend. "All works of the human mind, by natural right, are the property of all mankind." Since you don't cite a source for this philosophy, please do so. I'm not giving legal advice either, but if the above quote were subject to legal review, it would have to be deemed so vague as to be unenforceable and therefore meaningless. Your so obvious distinction between snatching paintings and taking intellectual property, which by definition cannot be made tangible in the same way, is not nearly so clear to me. If I choose (or it chooses me, as you like) to be a writer instead of a painter, then by "natural right" I lose all ownership of the produce of my own mind? What is the real distinction, sufficient to negate right of property, between paint on a canvas and words with music, other than the issue of tangibility? It is just that issue of tangibility that made copyright law seem necessary in just about every civilized (realized or unrealized) culture on earth, and just that incompatibility with "natural right" that makes it so difficult and culture specific. Of course I want my work to contribute to the overall wealth of ideas that benefit mankind, but to me, people who make such contributions should be treated with extraordinary respect and protection, as those contributions, in exalted cases of full artistic realization and the common comfort and edification of humanity are precious far above cars and $100,000 houses. The creators thereof represent us all. Do we truly want them to have less right to their creations than General Motors has to theirs? I am a teacher; All I have to sell is ideas, and I think that my job is extremely important. I'm not asking to be made Bill-Gates-rich because of it, but I hear all the time where some idiot is griping about teachers making more than burger-wrappers. For God's sake would they want to send their children to a doctor that was making minimum wage? But they are willing to financially humble those who work to enable their children's minds.

Free everything sounds like a sweet utopian ideal, but in a way that is awfully naive or at least inconsiderate in the extreme. A lot of things look good on paper or in the ecstacy of self-gratification, but they do not work out so well in real life. If I were not more polite, I would be moved to characterize the above post, with all its academic citations, as a "silly notion" that "peeved" me to rebut. But rebut I must, having butted already. How monumentally selfish.