Campaign: Copyright Issues

Only attribution rights are enforceable. "Copy" rights are not.

In order for you to be able to read this text, the characters I type are copied from my keyboard signal translator to a buffer in my computer's memory. At the same time, each character is copied from a font store to my screen buffer, so I can see what I'm typing. As soon as I hit the "Post Idea" button, my buffer contents are sent over the network to the FCC servers. To make this trip, the text, routing information, and control commands have to be copied by every Internet router along the path. On arrival, the text is copied from a buffer to storage (usually a database with multiple indexed copies) on the FCC server. When you request to see my submission, the whole series of copies goes in reverse from the FCC server to your Internet device, and then to your screen buffer in the form of font copies. That's a minimum of 11 copies per view, involving a minimum of 3 legal entities. I am not bothering to count the number of router hops, database index copies, or optic-brain processes that could also be called "copies".


So the real question is not whether any person or thing can copy my text. If you can read it, it has been copied. The question is whether I retain proper attribution of my own words. That is taken care of by the inclusion of my chosen pseudonym under the title above. Did I have to sign a lot of legal waivers for each time my text was to be copied around the Intenet (minimum 11 waivers)? NO. I just had to associate a chosen name with my text, kind of like a non-exclusive Trademark.


So let's stop talking about "copy" rights already -- they're completely useless, and always have been since the invention of the first camera obscura. Let's talk instead about attribution and plagiarism (which can really just be summarized as willful mis-attribution). That is a much more productive discussion.

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6 votes
Idea No. 302