Techdirt has an interesting article up about the myth of the “original creator” – the idea that copyright and IP protects individual creators working in a vacuum come up with new, unique ideas that are not based on anything that precedes them. This is, as any author, musician, or inventor knows, not the way it works in practice.
It’s nice to see more and more people recognizing and speaking out about these things. The idea that there is a single “author” or “creator” who deserves to get money any time anyone else builds upon his or her works is something that should be seen as increasingly ridiculous as people recognize that all works are created based on the works of others, and it’s inherently silly to try to charge everyone to pay back each and every one of their influences in creating a new work.
Even though many people think of this idea as foundational to the justification for copyright, it is not only not the way creation happens, but also ignores the fact that many copyright and patent owners are not the original creators of the work. A justification of original creation actually supports a “moral rights” approach to IP – taken more by Europeans, and especially the French – not the American approach, which focuses on ownership of rights and monetary rewards for supporting innovation.
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