Re: no objections
Well Andrew, I do disagree. I hold creativity in high esteem...just like I hold the endeavours of all people who contribute to our society. I don’t happen to hold one “type” of labour in more esteem than the other without some damned good reasons. Those reasons usually are things like “saving a life, pushing the frontiers of knowledge or advancing the frontiers of human endeavour.”
Writing a novel or composing a song – unless you happen to be at the absolute pinnacle of your craft – does not in my estimation fall into any higher esteem than building a road or fixing a computer. Mind you, a truly exceptional road builder or systems administrator deserved above-par recognition just as would a composer or writer whose works will echo through the ages. (Consider that some of those truly exceptional roads have been around for centuries, for example!)
I value creativity, and I value originality. But no, I simply don’t believe that creators are more deserving than non-creators. And other than “because it should be so!” I have heard no remotely convincing arguments to explain to me why I should. Religions also use “because it should be so,” and yet I still believe in dame science.
What exactly makes your version of “should” more important than mine? What exactly makes your ethics and morals so almightily important that they “should” be considered whereas mine “should” be discarded? What exactly entitles one set of beliefs to trump another; to shape society and become law?
Because that’s what we’re talking about here…not “what is law,” but rather, “what the laws should become, and how they should evolve to meet technological changes, societal changes and so forth.” Copyright maximalism is not law. Not yet, and certainly not everywhere.
Indeed, the pendulum has even swung the other way; popular resistance to maximalist approaches is so strong that the US has temporarily ceased exporting it, and may even be looking to export fair use.
Once, only landowners of a specific gender and race had any rights at all. Eventually, the people rose up, and decided that this shouldn’t be so. It changed. Here, now, technology has brought us to an equally important crossroads in the definition of intellectual property. “The past” can be – and is – interpreted in many ways, depending on your bias. But what IP will be in the future is an open battleground, where there are many conflicting moral and ethical viewpoints.
You continually present yours in a hostile and righteous manner; but I bow before neither god nor man; no preacher of faith will tell me what to believe. Science - peer reviewed evidence, preferably backed by a strong consensus amongst experts within the field - can sway me, but rhetoric never will.
But it gets worse! Copyright maximalism – which you seem to champion repeatedly – isn’t even about the creators. It is about the exceptionalism of copyright holders, which in the modern world is rarely the creator.
To add to this poo, copyright maximalism is built on a false premise: that creativity can occur in a vacuum. Under copyright maximalism, nothing new would ever enter the public domain. (Except possibly “orphaned works,” I.E. the works of individual creators which are not owned by media-holding cartels.)
So each new work must be entirely original, or else derive only from those works which existed before the extant copyright scheme took hold and moved creativity into a special category.
This limits the possible avenues of creation for new creators. If you want to create something based upon a currently-culturally-relevant conceptual universe, you must work for/with/under the aegis of the cartel that owns it.
Let’s take a practical example:
In the copyright maximalist world, the Bastard Operator From Hell belongs to the copyright owner until the end of time. The characters cannot be reused, even the common tropes, memes and terms could be challenged, if they were reused in a similar context by a similar work.
So if I wanted to write a BOFH story, I would have to go get permission, have it vetted by the copyright owner and otherwise subsume my creativity to his economic interest. That BOFH story then won’t be told, and likely won’t appear in an alternate “universe,” for fear that it would be “too similar” and I’d end up owing eleventeen squillion times my mortgage in “damages.”
Now, let’s look at how this could work in a non-copyright-maximalist world:
The BOFH, having become a cultural icon to two generations of nerds gathers a massive following. Like-minded creatives who have similar experiences to draw on start to create derivative works. Simon and the PFY’s antics flow from a thousand keyboards and tell the tales of a thousand minds.
Someone throws up a subReddit; the terrible ones are downvoted into obscurity, to be deleted in shame. The great ones rise up, to be considered on par with – or perhaps even surpassing – the works of the original author himself.
A whirlwind of creativity occurs around these characters; the universe they established, the tropes, memes and terminology forming a common platform for systems administrators everywhere to tell their tale.
Branches emerge. Before Simon worked at a megacorp, he was an SME admin. These are the tales of the SME admin. PFY1 leaves to form his own consulting company, becoming a BOFH in his own right. These are his tales, and those of his unfortunate PFY…
In a non-copyright-maximalist world, I don’t have to first create the universe in order to make apple pie. If I want to end my systems administrator tale of woe with an ominous “kzert,” then I can do so…in the knowledge that I won’t get sued into a singularity, and my audience will understand…because the memes and tropes of the shared BOFH universe are in the public domain for all people – creators and consumers – to benefit from.
So I do take extreme exception to copyright maximalism. Copyright maximalism puts copyright owners on a pedestal; “better” than me, the systems administrator. Based on the (usually false) assumption that they are representing “creators,” copyright maximalism demands they be given rights and considerations regarding their labour – or labour they purchased – that simply doesn’t apply to my labour.
For me to ever accept copyright maximalism you have to first explain how the labour of a creative is deserving of more protection than that of a doctor, teacher, lawyer or systems administrator.
And then, after you’ve convinced Trevor Pott, Systems Administrator that he is worth less than Trevor Pott, Writer…you get to explain to Trevor Pott, writer why it is that in order to tell a fictional tale of Systems Administration woe I should never be able to have a PFY or a kzert or a sysadmin named Simon who mysteriously removes floor tiles.
But Snow White? Let’s write the HELL out of that one.
Until then, I am going to hold fast to the idea of balanced copyright, and I will continue to believe copyright maximalists are as ethically bankrupt as any “freetard.” Neither side of this debate offers a damned thing except rhetoric, and sticks, sticks, sticks.
I believe in the requirement for the occasional appearance of a carrot.
Contrary to popular opinion however, my beliefs can be altered. With sufficient evidence.