Can You Enforce It? (and Rambling Nonsense)

A long time ago in a faraway land (California) I wrote a novel. A neophyte novelist, I was very worried (because it was the BEST idea anyone had had for a novel anywhere) that someone would steal it. I got the forms from the Library of Congress and filled them out, registering my idea with the gubmint. Back then the Internet was in the infancy of its common usage and stuff was mailed across the surface of the earth, sped along by trucks, trains, and planes. I had learned in some class or other that all you had to do to copyright your work was mail it to someone who didn’t open the envelope so it could be proven in a court of law that the work was yours.

That was actually true — and might still be true.

I have a visible copyright claim on the front “page” of my blog. I know it amounts to little more than the FBI warning at the beginning of a video. It looks scary but would I prosecute an offender? I can’t afford it. I have $75 ($200 earlier but my electric bill and another thing just came out of my account. Feel free to donate πŸ˜‰ ) to last me till the end of the month.

I got into an argument with the polemical husband of a good friend about this. I mostly just wanted OUT of the room, but the argument went on and on and on and on and on over a subject I don’t care about anymore. I see no point in two ignorant people getting in a heated debate about stuff they don’t know for sure and could look up. If you want to know, here is the link to US Copyright Laws.

The thing is, there is little that is truly original. As a species we take a lot of things in and then rework them as our own or push them further along. It’s human nature. A friend was telling me about Elon Musk’s new ideas and research, that rather than having to use this interface — fingers on keys (who could have imagined that back when people were horrified by the typewriter?) but total integration between the mind and the internet (that you pay for, of course) so that everything the Internet “knows” you know. I argued that in such a case, you wouldn’t really “know” anything. I argued that true knowledge is not just facts and answers, but experience acquired through time. I said that the person would only know the past and would not experience the present or move into the future (as we are supposed to do!) I didn’t make the case for uncertainty, doubt, fear,Β and failure. All these things really upset my friend. He really doesn’t see the bright side of fuck-ups and apprehension.

“Yeah, but what a great mind!”

“I’ve already read that in science fiction, and I saw it on Star Trek.”

“Yeah, but this isn’t science fiction.”

“It’s just not a new idea. That’s all I’m saying.” I was thinking of Philip K. Dick and the woman with whom Spock fell in love who’s “dress” was a net of material that was energy and held all knowledge and the box of energy that contained the collective mentalities and knowledge through time of a whole planet.

I was thinking, too, of the comparative primitiveness of the human body. It hasn’t caught up with the change in human life OR it’s trying to tell us something. I’m not sure which. I spent YEARS happily running from (non-existent) predators. Our bodies are still designed for that life. They WANT to run away. They LIKE it. “Waaa-HOOO! I can run away!” Whether one is able still to run away, walk away, ride a bike or a wheelchair, we glory in it. I think NOT being able to run away is very scary on a primal level. I think it’s the basis for a lot of my fear during the past decade and now, when I know I cannot run away and, instead, must carry a weapon.

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I look around me and see so many people who couldn’t run away from anything and would make a long and tasty dinner for any non-human predator who came along. Deep inside I believe that this contemporary, sedentary life of comfort, safety and plenty we enjoy MIGHT be temporary, and it’s important to maintain whatever mental and physical fitness we can, so if we need to we can outrun or outsmart the sabre-toothed tiger or dire wolf.

 

 

 

 

https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com/2018/09/19/wednesday-rdp-copyright/

19 thoughts on “Can You Enforce It? (and Rambling Nonsense)

  1. I copyrighted my book too. For all that, publishers steal and use writing for which they never pay anything rather a lot. Ann Golon spent a lifetime fighting to get back some of the money from “Angelique” and before she died last year, she finally won. She was 96 and had been fighting for more than half a century. J.R.R. Tolkien’s books were stolen by everyone and printed by everyone everywhere for decades until his son, Simon (J.R.R. was long demised by then) got the copyrights back and some kind of payment (not much) from whatever publishers still existed at the time … and the children (4 of them) of Shirley Jackson spent much of their lives fighting for her rights. And ALL of these books were copyrighted.

    Funny how rigid the copyrights of corporations are and how flimsy are those of authors, composers, et al, isn’t it?

  2. What does any writer know about writing that she didn’t learn from another writer? On the collective knowledge thing, I think there is a certain pleasure in knowing that some skills die with the individual. It makes room and gives cause for a new person or generation to learn how, to do, to create.

  3. All writers borrow from other writers. That is why we study author’s craft. However there is a difference between borrowing and laying claim to someone else’s work, or reaping the benefits of someone else’s work, as is popular in the publishing and music industry.

  4. I agree with sgeoil. I often wonder when I write, if this is an original idea or borrowed somehow from somewhere, something I read aeons ago. I’d like to think that what I write is my own, due to my own skill foresight and thought, but, maybe not.

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