Friday, April 1, 2011

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.

I had to do a report on an article regarding plagiarism and copyright infringement. The following is that same document. This may be disjointed as you did not read the article, but here are my thoughts all the same. The article is quoted below and I will attempt to find the link if you wish to reference it. As always, comments are appreciated and welcome. Happy Trails friends. (the phrase Happy Trails is from the Roy Rogers Show)

Essay- The Ecstasy of Influence: A Plagiarism

"There is nothing ambiguous about what is doing. It is a clear and blatant violation of copyright law. When you use something for your own financial gain that someone else created, that is stealing." [1]

I find that today’s issue of copyright infringement is well defined in this quote by Paul Hanley. The issue, which has become more civil than moral, seems to stem from the fixation for financial gain in our world today. Using other people’s work, be it literary or artistic, for inspiration should be something available to all who wish to create. Constraining the mind to “only new ideas” would not allow for much continual development or expansion on previous ideas. Our days and lives are filled with memories and things we have learned. Our very being is an accumulation of experiences familiar to us as if it were a favorite aunt telling of a dream she had of chasing a rabbit down a hole. Taking ownership of a song we have sung for years on our birthday is criminal to me. Selling a song someone else has written is different. Monetary gain is implied and therefore without compensating the writer, theft is involved.

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”[2] This quotation was used in a recent episode of a television show I was watching. Nowhere in the credits was it referenced. Who does not know it is from Hamlet? Who would think the writers of the show actually penned the phrase? Hemingway actually took a line and made it famous from Donne. “The bell tolls…” may have been lost in the tomes of literature had it not been for Hemmingway’s use. Thomas Jefferson’s comment in regards to time limitations on copyrights that “second comers might do a much better job than the originator with the original idea” seems to have done justice to Hemmingway’s use of the phrase as well as many others doing the same with their “redistribution.”

“I think art is the only thing that’s spiritual in the world. And I refuse to be forced to believe in other people’s interpretation of God. I don’t think anybody should be. No one person can own the copyright to what God means.”[3]

The musicians of an earlier era tended to be more willing to collaborate and share than the pop artists of today. I heard a radio program done by John McKuen of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band in regards to the singers of the 60’s. The discussion had to do with the folk singers of that time with whom he was collaborating. Dylan’s name came up as well as Leon Russell and Arlo Guthrie. These artists were more than willing to “jam” and in the process came up with some of the most meaningful and subsequently (because it was the 60’s) popular songs of that time. Where would we have been if they had all kept to themselves their art and ideas? As a footnote to this, I find it interesting that the products of this “antidisestablishmentarianism” revolutionary generation would be in the forefront of making so many laws to proliferate the capitalistic and corporate pigs they were so against - the making of a regulatory choke hold on “sublimated collaboration.[4]

I don’t disagree with the rights of an artist (using the term for all creators of a work) to the commercial rights of their art. I do, in fact, wish I could come up with some incredible photograph that could circle the globe and make me gobs of money. However, the reality is that unless I could see the Golden Gate Bridge in a whole new way that no other has and capture it on digital, the possibility is rare. But then again, would I have to pay the engineers’ families or the GGB Authority compensation or does this fall into the category of public domain or a commons license? I understand, although it was not discussed in the “10 Big Myths” article that if you photograph someone’s house on a street or in a field, you should get written permission to use the photograph. Where does this end?

I am afraid I am past the required amount of pages and I have not hit on many topics discussed in the article that I would like. Briefly, I will make a list of some of my thoughts:

· The current trend for “Brand Usage” in films has turned the tables on many of the large corporations in regards to infringement of their logos and has now become advertising. We are now, more than ever “surrounded by signs[5]

· We have indeed become a society of “Disnial” and a proliferation of “Source Hipocracy.”[6] Disney is a prime example!

· “Sharing is better unless selling is profitable. Sharing can get recognition and a feeling of well being. Selling is profitable. I will share what I can and hold back what is profitable. – Even if it is beneath my dignity, because selling is more profitable.” This is the mantra of our society today.

· Interesting thought brought up in regards to cancer research: If all the people (that’s us) give to the American Cancer Society to find a cure for cancer, then the pharmaceutical companies take the rights and sell the product back to us at an exorbitant price to cure our cancer, who wins? Would this not be the property of all the folks who walk or donate to find the cure? Does the ACS want to find a cure? Because if there is one, do they cease to exist and therefore are out of a job?

· “Give All” is not a term often used in our society. I do not disagree with a certain amount of copyrighted material. I only disagree with the hypocrisy and greed connected with it. I see this as a pattern to our world today and hope and pray that our future generations can see the shame of it and make it better.

“I do not fear a skunk, I simply do not care for the odor” – Eula Goodnight, Rooster Cogburn 1975

[1] Paul Hanley

[2] William Shakespeare Hamlet Act1Scene1

[3] Marilyn Manson

[4] The Ecstasy of Influence: A Plagiarism Jonathan Lethem (Harper’s Magazine) February 2007

[5] The Ecstasy of Influence: A Plagiarism Jonathan Lethem (Harper’s Magazine) February 2007

[6] The Ecstasy of Influence: A Plagiarism Jonathon Lethem (Harpers Magazine February 2007)

1 comment:

  1. OK, so I clicked on 0 comments and here I am. If only I can remember how I did it the next time! :)