The thing is, I'm a great believer in copyright law. Many libertarians aren't; there's a not-insignificant portion of the movement that ridicules the very idea of intellectual property. My response? Yes, I recognize that it's an artificial construct, but it's a *useful* one. After all, if I have zero control over the profit generated from -- or the creative expression of -- my work, then what motivation do I have to continue generating it?
(And while I'm a great lover of shared universes, and have written a *huge* amount of material in them, I'll also confess to a -- perhaps unhealthy -- protectiveness of my original work. The thought of someone else writing Penner is just surreal to me. In fact, I've collaboratively written a number of sketches and scenes featuring the character, and usually wholly rewritten his dialogue myself; I have a very clear sense of his attitudes/cadences, that other writers usually substitute with stammering.)
I recognize that I'm luckier than many, in that my imagination generally revolves around much older stuff -- I could cheerfully adapt nothing but medieval adventure stories for the rest of my career, and not run out of material that I found cool or exciting or interesting.
The broader legal/ethical question becomes, how *long* should an author's intellectual property be protected? I appreciate the argument for extending such protection beyond an author's death -- many writers have dependents, and if my work were in any way profitable, I would be pleased to know that it was continuing to support my loved ones.
Thus, the system I propose is that work should enter the public domain upon the deaths of the author's immediate family -- parents, siblings, spouses, children -- and even then, said family would have to indicate their explicit desire to maintain control of the property. Anything beyond that seems, to me, absurd.
status is notoriously complex, but he's thriving -- we've gotten a number of very cool takes on his story in the last decade alone.
Contemporary popular culture is an ouroboros, endlessly devouring itself. There's several branches of music devoted to sampling the existing audio that we're constantly bombarded with. Shows like Scrubs and Family Guy have made sifting through pop-culture detritus their raison d'etre. Even at my tiny end of the scale, I've had plenty of cause to be thankful that parody is a well-protected form of speech in this country.
Self-awareness, self-consciousness, and self-referentiality is this generation's watchword. Call it navel-gazing or hipster irony, it's damn near our defining characteristic. At some point, the information we're collectively bombarded with ceases to belong to any one person and becomes a part of all us. Articulating where to draw that line legally, however, can be maddening.
Fringe season is coming around the corner, and I would be remiss not to mention some of my upcoming shows this week.
Friday, June 1st at 7pm: performing a set in a fundraiser for Seldom Scene Productions at Kieran's Irish Pub.
Saturday, June 2nd at 7pm: hosting the Rockstar Storytellers Fringe Fest Sneak Peek at the Widespot Performing Arts Center in Stockholm, WI.
Sunday, June 3rd at 7pm: hosting Rockstar Storytellers: The Next Level at the Bryant-Lake Bowl.
Wednesday, June 6th at 7pm: performing a set in Sample Night Live at the History Theatre in St. Paul. Use Discount Code MEMBERS and get $5 off admission online!