I love this plan! I’m excited to be a part of it!
If you look around on the internet, you’ll be able to find lots of stuff about intellectual property. Things like Creative Commons are trying to create a new dynamic between creator and use. I support this sort of stuff, but honestly, I’m not opposed to traditional copyright — within certain limits. What’s going wrong with copyright (You like that? It’s called a pun.) is that there is a major push to continue to extend the time limit. How is a culture supposed to function if nothing that culture produces ever becomes public domain? Where would we be if Homer’s descendants could sue James Joyce over Ulysses? Things like Mickey Mouse and Superman are at the cusp of entering this cultural consciousness to the same extent, but the companies who presently control the ideas want to prevent their free use. In all reality, though, there does come a point where a concept like Superman moves beyond being a character in entertainment and enters into a sort of cultural mythology. And when that happens, the idea ceases to belong to anyone. Or rather, it starts to belong to everyone.
One of the great ironies to the present intellectual property struggles is that two of the major players are the traditional big comic companies: DC and Marvel. The primary philosophical argument in support of copyright is that it is designed to protect a creator’s ability to derive benefit from his/her creation. But when the DC and Marvel super-heroes were created that didn’t happen. The people who actually came up with the ideas worked in a time and system that demanded they turned over all rights to anything they created to the company. Some of the families finally won legal battles decades later to some compensation and control. The fact remains, Jerry Siegel and Joe Schuster didn’t see a fragment of the benefit from Superman that DC saw. And compared to most classic comics creators, they were lucky.
Speaking of DC, Marvel, and intellectual property atrocities . . .
You know that word super-hero I used? You know, the one that’s a part of the American language the same way astronaut or cowboy is? Well, DC and Marvel have jointly filed to trademark the word. Trademarks far more restrictive than copyrights, and can be renewed ad infinitum. So that’s pretty fucking ridiculous.
I guess I subconsciously decided to take a Spring Break from this thing last week, too. I don’t feel like I accomplished much during Spring Break. Of course, it’s not quite a full-on break when you’re still working forty hours. Still, I had visions of doing some writing, drawing, and computer art that I’ve been wanting to do for a while now. It didn’t happen. I did read Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde for school. That was about it. Oh yeah, and I . . . wait, no, that was it. Actually, I did get to spend some more quality time with Elise, which is always nice.
I’ve started using Bloglines recently. I’m quite happy with it. The “news” in the sense of headlines of a global, national, or local sense I still get from other venues; I view my Bloglines feeds as more casual or niche reading, things like AICN, Wired, or Boing Boing. Of course, I also use it to read blogs (as the name would indicate), be they independent and interesting or simply part of a friend’s MySpace. I think one of my favorite aspects is the ability to read the whole story in the Bloglines window, as long as the feed it’s coming from is set up for that. Even when it isn’t, the centralized headline viewing is convenient. If you haven’t started exploiting this whole “Web 2.0” RSS feed thing, you really should.
There are interesting conversations happening at the doppelganger forum. They would be even more interesting if we had more than three or four people regularly contributing. Why haven’t you joined? Don’t you realize that this will make your life better or, failing that, provide you with some place to insult people so you can feel marginally less pain from your pathetic existence? Plus, you’ll be up to date on the soon to be released doppelganger #1!