(The Return of) Ignatz, by Sam Heldman

Friday, January 24, 2003

There is good news and there is bad news.

The good news is that Jeff Cooper is back to blogging.

The bad news is that Barry/Ampersand says I'm wrong about copyright, based on my musings below about how much it pleases me that Leonard Cohen racked up some $$ from "Shrek". This is bad, because when Barry disagrees with you it usually means that you're wrong; and even when you're not, he writes it so well that it seems that he must be correct. But, I think that maybe I'm not wrong, and that he and I are actually talking about different things. I'm for long-lasting copyrights; his main point, as I understand it, is that our current laws [insert: in conjunction with the currently-existing institutions which often mean that creators in some fields do not own the copyrights] tend to screw the actual creator in many instances in many ways. I agree, and would be happy with a reworking of copyright laws that gave more control to the actual creator, with well-thought-out rules as to which sorts of things could be copied and used under compulsory-license schemes, which sorts of things the artist could block, which sorts of things the artist could do even after selling the copyright, etc. But all those things are, I think, separate from the issue of the length of copyright; and I still want artists to be able to profit from their works for many years. I would love to see other legislation giving them more protections and negotiating-strength too. To remedy the specific problem that seems to drive Barry's message the most, would be easy: a law that the actual human creator of any character (in cartoon, or series of written works) should have the right to create derivative works even without the consent of the copyright owner. Would that be a good law? I think so. But I would tinker with that sort of thing as necessary, rather than the big-gun approach of shortening copyright terms.

posted by sam 6:52 AM 0 comments


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