Sunday, September 19, 2010

It's a Trap!

First, some links.

As Mel pointed out there's a lot of monetary/greed wrapped up in this here copyright issue. A system that was put in place to protect creative people's ideas has in many cases been perverted into protecting the status quo and stifling new ideas. See article above, Lucasfilms sent a cease and desist notice to a new startup company: Addroid. Why? Because they own the rights to the word Droid, and this little advertisement start-up is going to confuse people into thinking it's associated with Star Wars and hurt George's lunchbox sales. It's the same issue Mazzone (who's name makes me hungry) talks about. This sort of reactionary legal offense mindset towards copyright issues. Addroid could fight of Lucasfilms and have a good chance of winning, but if they choose to it'll end up costing them a fortune and could sink them. This situation is unfortunately not too rare.

I've been pondering what a fix could be, because I certainly believe that the creative types do need protection from having their ideas stolen. Could we ever enact a system where it's not beneficial for large corporations to send shady cease and desist orders? My first reaction is sadly one of cynicism, too many lobbyists would stop any sort of venture. What do you think, other half of class?

Switching gears, I thought the Stanford FAQ did a good job of laying out the basic tenets of copyright in a clear fashion. I think one of the most important distinctions it makes is the difference between an idea and the expression of the idea. This was the example where you can't copyright a space opera, but you can for a specific instance of this type of story. I'd hate to think what would happen if this were not the case. Namely, we would not have been graced with both Armageddon and Deep Impact. All kidding aside, while I believe this distinction to be important, I also wonder how much people are allowed to toe the line. At what point does the same basic idea infringe too much on specifics? I'm curious to see what the rest of the class has to say.

© Daniel J., 2010


  1. Love the copyright notice at the bottom of your post, Daniel!

    [All Rights Reserved]

  2. Year Clarification

    Excuse the geek in me…but, excellent Admiral Akbar reference. “It’s a Trap! (Lucas, G.)”

    Lucas, G. (producer). & Marquand, R. (director). (1983). Star Wars VI: Return of the Jedi (motion picture). United States: 20th Century Fox.