copying v. stealing

I read a blog called decor8. It has lots of fun decorating idea, and I really like the pictures. I am not sure how I found it, but I did. A few weeks ago the author of the blog asked her "community of readers" about having their ideas copied by the internets.

The post was titled "DIY is not Duplicate It Yourself." You can click this sentence to read the original post. I posted a comment about her post because I disagree. I don't believe that ideas can be copyrighted. I just believe that if I see an idea and I can replicate it, well then more power to me. Fire up. Get going.

In my comment I linked to this video by Nina Paley. She wrote the movie I mentioned a few months ago, Sita Sings the Blues.

What are your thoughts?


Brent said...

So this video summarizes (cutely) what I first thought about copying way back when Napster hit the scene. And it's great for things that people create and don't care about making money off of. But there's a copyright clause in the Constitution and it seems clear that for a few hundreded years people have been thinking that maybe if I cannot get paid for my creative work I won't do it, or won't do it as much. Therefore, the idea was to give people a limited monopoly on something easily copied so that they could make some money on it. The current internet counter-counter arguments boil down to "sure you're giving it away for free, but don't worry you'll make it up on volume." That is, people think that (a) someone will voluntarily pay you money if they like you and want you to keep doing your creative work or (b) you can make money by giving paid speeches or selling T-Shirts at your concert or whatever. But some writer I read said it really well: I don't want to get paid to give a speech or sell a T-Shirt. I want to get paid to write. Now there are lots of separate questions about what should and should be copyrightable and, especially, how long copyrights should last. But it seems like the basic tradeoff is there the internet has not repealed it. (Incidentally, this is one reason that Steve Jobs 'closed' iPhone/iPad system may succeed. It gives people the technical (as opposed to legal) ability to keep their books, magazines, etc. secure.)

Erica said...

Wow, Brent is good!