Rich McIver Can Never Be Walt Disney (Or why modern copyright laws won’t stand Or Jessica Alba’s other job)

I really wish I knew how to have the comments written on this blog posted along side the post. That is where the action is and where some of the best ideas are.

Case in point:

Rich, one of the evil overlords of BizNicheMedia and Matt of the Blog Herald, both made interesting points about my rant against current copyright law and my use of Angelina Jolie pictures.

I'm sure other people took offense with what I said but didn't know exactly how to express it. Law is a touchy subject and I knew it would step on a few toes.

Especially when you are talking about copyright.

Here are some things you need to realize about copyright. It has been used by big corporations to screw the little guy for a while.

Walt Disney was able to get rich off of many of Nineteenth Century public domain works, including Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Cinderella, Pinocchio, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Alice in Wonderland, and The Jungle Book (released exactly one year after Kipling's copyrights expired).

But when the copyrights were about to expire on Mickey Mouse, the Disney corporation and other media companies decided to change the law.

What they did went against what we are supposed to stand for.

Dig this:

The Framers of our Constitution viewed inventions and expression not as "property", but as public goods to which exclusive rights may be granted purely as a means of incenting production. Thomas Jefferson expressed the then-dominant view with characteristic felicity in an 1813 letter:

If nature has made any one thing less susceptible than all others of exclusive property, it is the action of the thinking power called an idea, which an individual may exclusively possess as long as he keeps it to himself; but the moment it is divulged, it forces itself into the possession of every one, and the receiver cannot dispossess himself of it. Its peculiar character, too, is that no one possesses the less, because every other possesses the whole of it. He who receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mine, receives light without darkening me . . . .

Inventions then cannot, in nature, be a subject of property. Society may give an exclusive right to the profits arising from them, as an encouragement to men to pursue ideas which may produce utility, but this may or may not be done, according to the will and convenience of the society, without claim or complaint from anybody.

Correspondence between Jefferson and Madison regarding the drafting of the Copyright Clause evidences the same concern: both men classify copyrights and patents as "monopolies" sufferable only for limited periods, and only for the purpose of incenting invention.

Now what does this have to do with Angelina Jolie/Time and You?

When I write something here, if it's decent it may be linked to.

The ideas may be used without ever giving credit.

And that's cool with me. Because I realize what a lot of people realize in their gut and what the framers of the constitution knew: Value is not in the actual product. (This may seem confusing but bear with me.)

Let's take for example, a song by the Beatles.

Now few things are as personal as a songwriters songs. The value of that song is tied to the singer. Does the original song lose value because I (with my horrible voice) decide to sing it? Does the original lose value because I press records of my horrible version and sell it? Of course not.

And it's the same with everything.

It's why Rolex is more than a watch and a Big Mac is more than a hamburger.

Value comes from the experience. Not the actual product itself. Thanks to the internet Everything is a commodity.

Walt Disney told somebody else's stories his way and built an empire. Does that make him a thief? The truth is, he couldn't do that under current copyright law.

Somebody is going to get smart and take everything I have ever written, spit it out in a video form being spoken by Jessica Alba and make a mint.

It's the packaging.

I doubt the internet decreased sales of People magazine. It probably raised them. Because no website can ever recreate the People magazine experience.

Here's the deal.

You came here with nothing and you're leaving here with nothing.

Everything you create belongs to the universe.

Your profit in this lifetime comes from your unique interpretation of it.

Value is different in a world where everybody knows (or has the ability to know) everything.

Until the law understands that, it's valueless.

Explore posts in the same categories: angelina jolie, BizNicheMedia, blog herald, blog networks, constitution, conversation, copyright, Copyrights and Trademarks, Economics, jessica alba, Rich McIver, The Beatles, The Law, walt disney, Walt Disney Studios

17 Comments on “Rich McIver Can Never Be Walt Disney (Or why modern copyright laws won’t stand Or Jessica Alba’s other job)”

  1. Brian Says:

    Want to know how to get the comments how you want them?

    Get a real domain name.

    Get a real host.

    Get a custom template designed.

    It’s time for this blog to come out of beta.

  2. Brian Says:

    Otherwise, this is a very thought-provoking post.

    And my previous comments are only made because both this blog and your voice deserve better.

  3. Matt Says:

    Brian, no need to be so To play the devil's advocate:

    Get your own domain name but have it go down whenever you get Dugg or Slashdotted. Maintain and upgrade the software whenever a security or bug fix comes out.

    Get a real host, but be stuck with someone who doesn't regularly give the middle finger to legal notices like we do. (And lose the traffic from the dashboard, front page, and tags.)

    Spend tons of money on a custom template that no one sees anyway because they all use RSS.

    Besides, if chartreuse wants a custom domain or template, all he has to do is ask.

  4. chartreuse Says:

    Thanks Matt! I like

    And I should say for the record that you guys never asked me (or anyone) to take down those AJ pictures. And I know they contacted you.

    Brian is just being difficult. He knows that you are more authentic when you use tools available to everyone.

    He’s an attorney, so he ws taught a certain eletism. But he’s adjusting well to the new world…considering. 🙂

  5. Brian Says:

    Ok, fine. Just don’t say “I really wish I knew how to…” when you know how to, but just don’t want to do it. 🙂

    And Matt, I meant no disrespect to the service whatsoever, although I know for a fact that a custom template has a huge tangible effect on getting someone to sign up for the RSS feed in the first place.

  6. Bryan Davis Says:

    Benefits of WordPress aside, great post. The quotes from Jefferson are right on, though I’m afraid people are less and less concerned with the intention of the Constitutional founders (once it can be shown, of course, that they didn’t mean whatever they wanted them to mean).

    Now I must read through your other posts.

  7. chartreuse Says:

    Your right, the founding fathers are only important if they agree with you! Thanks for dropping in and making a relevent comment which agrees with mine.

    If you disagree with me you will probably be insulted.

    Ask Brian! 🙂

  8. Brian Says:

    Heh. 🙂

  9. range Says:

    I think Char is more concerned with content than how the blog actually looks. Actually, I believe that custom templates and domain names aren’t for everybody. I think that people who can fiddle with them are the ones that will set it up ASAP. Others, are probably fine to remain on wordpress for a very long time.

    I actually think that Char should be flattered to be singled out by Time inc. Means that he’s getting distribution and readership.

  10. Packaging Baby. Always wins.

    The photos as always are gooood

    Did not know that about Disney – figures though. Buch of Brian type lawyers figured out a way to stick it to everybody.
    Could not resist the lawyer joke, Go mavs 🙂

  11. Matt Says:

    Good post as always – but I’m well aware of the history of the copyright law and the role that Disney played in creating the DMCA and seeing it pushed through Congress.

    But in the end, like it or not, the creator of the content owns the content and gets to choose. That’s why you don’t post the intellectual property of others.

    Get to know some creative folks who create poetry, or web graphics, or flash animation, or cartoons and you’ll meet folks who lose thousands of dollars due to copyright.

    For years I ran humor websites and took the time to properly license content and ensure that we were compliant with copyright laws. I belonged to a large online humor webmaster community that I was eventually banned from because I dared stand up for the rights of the cartoonists and other content creators. And I still choose to take that relatively unpopular stance.

    I don’t like what Time, Inc. did and would have chosen a different approach. I’m not them and they’re not me. I don’t think most of the blogosphere is on the right side of this issue.


  12. Matt Says:

    sorry, that should have read:

    Get to know some creative folks who create poetry, or web graphics, or flash animation, or cartoons and you’ll meet folks who lose thousands of dollars due to copyright violators who use their work without permission and without compensation.

    Thanks 😉 makes more sense now

  13. Rich Says:

    I think everyone who follows copyright law even loosely, recognizes that the special interest stunt pulled by Disney undermines the justifications for copyright law in the modern era. As you have properly stated, the US like most of the western world, has long thought that the only productive use of Copyright was to create sufficient incentive to create the information…no more and no less.

    We leave it up to our legislature to decide what an appropriate level of protection is (insert snarky joke about how incompetent Congress is here). When that system is undermined by allowing special interests to extend the protection for their copyrights, as Disney has done here, we lessen the creative use and re-use of the intellectual expressions of others.

    But again, none of this means that the copyright system, or the patent system is inherently wrong or tilted against the little man…at least not any more than the legal system is in general. In fact, in providing exclusive rights to the inventor (or expressor depending upon the context) IP law actually protects the little guy by giving him/her the exclusive right to market the product. If that protection did not exist, big corp’s would just wait until a good idea hit the market and then steal it and re-sell it, effectively eliminating the payout, and thus the incentive for the little guy to invent. While you can argue that some of this takes place anyway, (and you would be right) the extent certainly would be far greater without legal protection.

  14. Mr Angry Says:

    Your content read by Jessica Alba. That’s hot. I’d buy it but she’d have to be dancing the way she does in Sin City while she reads it.

  15. Jason Boog Says:

    Note to person who remixes the Complet Chartreuse into a sexy video: If Jessica Alba is still looking for work after she’s done with that project, I’ve got plenty more content over at my site.

    Great post. As a writer, I very very rarely imagined the experience of reading my product–it’s just a bunch of paper in somebody’s hand and somebody else was in control of what that paper looked like. As digital publishing, blogging and videoblogging take over, I find myself worrying about the experience of the reader reading (or watching or listening to) my writing more and more…

  16. Justin Says:

    wow what an interesting look at copywright, and how it really does “screw with the little guy”. You have a really great blog, i’ll be sure to stop by here more in the future 🙂 really great.

    Oh, and Mr Angry, lol that is definately true.

  17. Jessica Alba is a wonderful lucky girl and have a beautiful baby girl good lucky for a your new baby girl you are a best mother in the world

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