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Unknown Idealist

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About Unknown Idealist

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    Junior Member
  • Birthday 05/06/1952

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    United States
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    In a relationship
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  • Real Name
    Irene Lupinski
  • Copyright
  • Biography/Intro
    I read Ayn Rand's fiction in college and now am rediscovering it many years later.
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    sales rep

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  1. I claim no right to prohibit you from commenting on my public statements. Comment all you want. I claim only the right to prohibit you from reproducing my words in part or in whole. Regarding copies of my book that come into the possession of those other than the original buyers, my intellectual property right includes authority over all reproductions of my words. I still retain ownership of the right to copy, even if one of my books falls into the hands of someone I have never directly made an agreement with. Similarly, I do not have to have a pre-existing contract with someone who trespasses on my land in order to eject him from my land. It is a false dilemma to say that an author must either keep his book a secret or lose his right to control reproduction of the work. Bell did not have to keep the telephone a secret in order to enjoy the right to control production and sale of his invention. It would not matter if one of Bell’s telephones comes into possession of Mr. Smith who had never met Bell and knew nothing of his claims as inventor. If Smith starts making copies of that telephone and markets them, then he has violated Bell’s intellectual property rights. Under any objective system of law that honors intellectual property, Smith would have to cease production and compensate Bell appropriately. Regarding actual law, I do not dispute that my views on IP would not be held up by any current court in the U.S. But so what? Business owners have a natural right (i.e. a just claim derived from man’s nature) not to serve certain minorities, manufacturers have a right to “fix” prices, and people have a right to keep all of their income. The fact that courts today do not recognize such rights does not mean that such rights are imaginary. They exist by virtue of man’s nature, whether legal authorities recognize them or not. Regarding Objectivist ethics: I have read Ayn Rand’s VOS and CUI and am familiar with her views on intellectual property. Since Rand has defended patents and copyrights on the grounds that the products of man’s mind are his property, I see nothing in what I’ve said that contradicts Objectivist fundamentals. Obviously, I do not agree with limiting the term of ownership, but I had supposed that we as thoughtful, curious people could explore our differences in a productive way.
  2. If Mr. Goodkind uniformly grants permission, that certainly is his right. Similarly, the publishers for Rodgers and Hammerstein could openly extend permission to any and all groups who wished to perform their musicals. The critical issue, however, is with regard to those writers and artists who do not wish any part of their work reproduced by others. In such a case we cannot say that that reviewers and critics may presume automatic or implied consent to quote. And this is especially true if authors have expressly stated their opposition to any reproduction. But how would one know whether permission to quote would be granted on not? The burden would fall on the one who proposes to do the quoting to find out what the author's policy is. He would have to use the mails, a phone, or a web-connected computer. In the absence of a statement from the author, he could not presume. Thus, there is no general "automatic" or "implied" consent. Here, then, is what is wrong with the "fair use" doctrine that is now a key feature of copyright law in the U.S. and elsewhere. Creators of intellectual property who do not want portions of their work reproduced are prevented from enforcing their property rights by courts that rule that excerpts are permissible (and keep expanding how much is permissible without ever precisely defining the formula). This is a classic case of the rights of the productive individual being violated for the alleged needs of others. If a publisher wants to give a writer the boot for not cooperating with critics or interviewers, that is entirely a separate matter. It is unrelated to the question of the natural right of an author to have full control over reproduction of his work, which, by the way, is what I am discussing here.
  3. I did read what you wrote in your previous answer but saw right away that it did not address my argument. Your answer referred to existing copyright law. All along I have made it plain that I am examining the moral basis, i.e. the natural law, that must underlie any legal system, present and future, before it can be regarded as legitimate. Nothing in your response explains why the right to control reproduction of one’s creation should not be total and eternal. Why should expanding the social availability of a work automatically mean expanding the number of people who can legally reproduce portions of the work? We are never told. I have argued that by creating a work, an individual has justly earned the right to own that work (or sell it or give it away). So far, no one has contradicted that. Given that premise, by what logic does social availability justify forced sharing with non-creators the right to reproduce the work? Unless, the author explicitly says otherwise, making a book widely available does not represent an implied license to reproduce it in part, anymore than manufacturing and selling tens of thousands of telephones implied a license for anyone other than Alexander Graham Bell to reproduce and sell the phone or parts of it. You could also have said to Bell, if you don’t want your invention stolen, keep it a secret from the world! My book had a printing of a thousand copies. But what if it had been 5,000 or 100,000? At what objectively observable point does “private” become “public”? And exactly how would the printing of one copy above the maximum limit of “private” (whatever that means) constitute implied consent to quote excepts? How in the world can an author who has placed an explicit warning that no part of the book be reproduced without her consent be said to have “implied” her consent for others to reproduce it in part? In short, I am waiting for an explanation of how it can be moral for property to be transferred against the rightful owner’s will. As for my alleged restricting of other people’s actions, why would prohibiting the unauthorized reproduction of a paragraph from Atlas Shrugged be a claim on another person’s life, but prohibiting unauthorized reproduction of the whole not be? We are talking about the very same type of action. It is only a matter of degree. It is up to you to show how the line between “fair use” and infringement is clear, objective and non-arbitrary.
  4. Welcome back to the debate! (Again!) 1. I have already told you I am not familiar with the Goodkind case. In any case, it would have no bearing on the rights of an author who did not wish to be quoted, even in small excerpts (measurement omitted). 2. I did not attribute the following position to anyone in particular: "Those saying that she owns only a portion of it, must explain why part of her creation could be used freely by someone who was not a party to the creation." I dealt with it in theory to show that absolute protection of IP is the only consistent position.
  5. I did not ignore implied consent. I dealt explicitly with it in my Post #54. Kindly explain how my contractual stipulation that my work on family genealogy “not be reproduced in part of in whole without the consent of the author” constitutes authorization to reproduce it in part! There is no reason why an author’s intellectual property rights over her writings should be lessened once they are published. Let’s examine what if anything changes when a writer goes public. Suppose Ayn Rand had never brought Atlas Shrugged to a publisher and someone, whom she had let borrow the manuscript, submitted it to a publisher under his own name. No one would question that this is an act of theft. But fundamentally nothing changes when, of her own free will, an author has a book printed and makes copies available to the public for a price. Once Atlas appeared in print, Rand (or her estate) could rightfully seek damages if someone else were to issue a separate edition of Atlas without her consent. The fact that Rand had her book reproduced and made available for sale does not imply that anyone else may do the same. With those principles in mind, it is easy to see that unauthorized reproduction in part is also theft, not different in kind, only in degree. If we can see that issuing the entire text of Atlas Shrugged in an unauthorized edition is illegitimate, then we should have no trouble seeing that an unauthorized abridged version of half Atlas’s original length would also be wrong. Further, if an unauthorized half-length reproduction is an act of theft, so is 1/8, 1/32, 1/128 and so forth. This is no different than telling a bank robber that not only may he not have the contents of the safe, neither is he allowed to keep a penny that rolls out of the teller’s drawer. The only permissible form of reproduction would be to use combinations of words that were not unique to Ayn Rand, such as “Brother, you asked for it.” Now I have not ignored your reference to what existing copyright law says. But it is really beside the point. My focus all along has been the moral basis for any objective form of intellectual property law. And this much should be clear: if I write a book under my own intellectual powers, that book should belong entirely to me. If I wish to sell copies of that book under the condition that unauthorized reproduction is prohibited, I should be permitted to do so and to collect appropriate damages from those who violate those conditions to any extent. As for your claim that copyright law is the “objective” means of certifying property rights, why is it even the U.S. Copyright Office concedes that fair use is “unclear,” not easily “defined.” How objective is law that eludes definition?
  6. The dubious word in your reply is “let’s.” In this thread I have already addressed the notion that publication of a work automatically implies consent to quote from it. Years ago I published a small book on my family's genealogy. To this day I have never granted anyone permission to reproduce any portion of it, including quotations, however brief. Thus there is no such thing as an implied or automatic grant for short excerpts. Now either a creator is entitled to all of her creation, some of it, or none at all. Those saying that she owns only a portion of it, must explain why part of her creation could be used freely by someone who was not a party to the creation. So far I have read no logical justification of such an arrangement. If the creator rightfully owns all of her art, then it follows that an author’s work, her words, must remain entirely under her control. If her right over those words is legitimate, then the unauthorized reproduction of just a dozen words (even in a review that gets her good advertising) is a violation of intellectual property in the same way and for the same reason that pirating the entire book is.
  7. Welcome back to the debate! We've missed you! Now that you've rejoined us, why not explain how an author can retain all of the reproduction rights to her intellectual property while at the same time other writers have a right to reproduce some of that same IP. So far in this thread you’ve never addressed this contradiction: two people independently controlling the same thing at the same time. Until next time . . .
  8. I never equated plagiarism and copyright infringement. I simply said that refraining from all quotations circumvents either wrong. I too look forward to future IP discussion, especially seeing a defense of "fair use" that does not contradict the rights of creators.
  9. If you haven't noticed it already, the reproduction of others' words in my posts has ceased. This post and my earlier one today should provide instructive examples. Meanwhile, I'll be searching this forum's archives and the web in general for an adequate explanation of how the need to criticize represents a valid claim on the property of another, namely the right to reproduce a portion of an author’s work without his permission.
  10. I am well aware that one could write a rip-off of Atlas Shrugged, using essentially the same characters and plot -- but not the same words -- and violate copyright law. (How much latitude one should have in following the plot of a previously published work is worth a discussion in itself. Consider the parallels between Love Letters and Cyrano de Bergerac, a French play which may or may not have enjoyed U.S. copyright protection in 1945.) My discussion of prohibiting reproduction of an author's words was not meant to imply that copyright protection begins and ends with control over direct quotation. In any case, by simply listing the author and date of what I'm responding to on this forum, I can avoid the taint of plagiarism or unauthorized reproduction.
  11. Out of respect for the property rights of others, my posts will no longer include the exact words of those I am responding to.
  12. I'm sorry to hear that you are retiring from the debate. I will miss our stimulating exchanges. I have already invited you to demonstrate precisely how my example of a book-length quote on a website would not qualify as an instance of your fabled short excerpt that eludes measurement. However, since you are now out of the debate, I can hardly expect an answer from you. An example that comes immediately to mind is saying that an author rightfully controls all reproduction of her work and at the same time insisting that reviewers may rightfully reproduce some portions of that work without the author’s consent.
  13. If you think I have misconstrued you, simply demonstrate how your concept of "small excerpts" which omits measurements would rule out posting the entire volume of VOS. All you have to do is explain the way "fair use" without parameters would clearly and unambiguously exclude this form of quoting. But instead you choose to stick with the mantra that "small" excepts are not a violation of owner's right of reproduction, while at the same time insisting that no one is required to provide specifics on the concept of "small." And so whatever absurdities you get, you are fully entitled to. I quoted them on the same forum you are appearing on. They do not appear outside the website that you placed them in.
  14. Fine. Whenever someone is ready to take a crack at it, I'll be listening.
  15. By that logic I could spend time and dollars creating the website “whatilikeaboutaynrand.com” and then post the entire text of The Virtue of Selfishness on it. I could justify my action by claiming that compared to the entire body of Rand’s work, the quoted text is “small.” And of course I would mean “small” in the “omitting all measurements” sense! I have complied with the forum rules: “Each participant agrees not to post any copyrighted material.” Are your words copyrighted?
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