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A Brief Allusion About Copyrights: from D_W's Allusions

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While a scientific or philosophic discovery which identifies a law of nature, a principle or a fact of realty not previously known is not the exclusive property of the discoverer because he did not create it.

The natural law or our knowledge of it?  If the former then what is the difference between knowledge of how something is (such as the dynamics of a wave) and knowledge of how it ought to be (such as a piano design); for what reason should they be treated so differently?

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A Brief Allusion About Copyrights
 

CUI-11. Patents And Copyrights

Originally in The Objectivist Newsletter, May 1964

 

Patents and copyrights are the legal implementation of the base of all property rights: a man's right to the product of his mind.

 

Both of these articles belong to Ayn Rand. In fact, they are the same article; verbatim. The first time it was printed was in May 1964, when it was sent to her subscribers of The Objectivist Newsletter. The second time, it was under a contract negotiated with a publisher as part of her book: Capitalism, The Unknown Ideal.

 

It was in this article she identified the notion of intellectual property as the subject of patents and copyrights. Ok, so she renamed the article from “Intellectual Ammunition Department” to “Patents And Copyrights”. As the owner, she was entitled to do so.

 

Starting with the identification of the fact that every type of productive work is a combination of mental and physical effort, thought and physical action translating thought into material form, where the ratio of these two aspects vary according to what is being done. Observing someone gather dead grasses, twigs and an assortment of larger branches and piling them up to build a fire is a technique that most children can perform with little parental intervention required. Copying an inspiring novel letter-by-letter, punctuation_mark-by-punctuation_mark, is a task most literate individuals can do.

 

For nearly two centuries, (starting with Plato around 400 B.C. till 1400 A.D.) this was the way literature was replicated. Until Johannes Gutenberg invented the movable type printing press, the physical labor of copying was a significant part of the object’s value – over and above the value created by the originator of the idea.

 

The development of the mimeograph machine, by Thomas Edison, and the later Xerox machine, by IBM, reduced the time and effort required to duplicate the printed page to a fraction to that of copying by hand. With the advent of computers and the connectivity provided by the Internet, anyone that can use a computer and has access to the web can copy just about anything. No longer is the physical labor of copying a significant source of the object’s value, especially in the realm of literature.

 

So wherein does the value lie? In the fourth paragraph, Miss Rand posits the crux of her discovery and puts it forth her formulation. While a scientific or philosophic discovery which identifies a law of nature, a principle or a fact of realty not previously known is not the exclusive property of the discoverer because he did not create it.

 

“Intellectual property” is a discovery Miss Rand made during her keen exploration of existence. As such, a philosophical (or scientific) discovery which identifies a law of nature, a principle or a fact of reality not previously know, cannot be the exclusive property of the discover because she did not create it. She can copyright the book in which she presents her discovery, and she can demand that her authorship of the discovery be acknowledged, that no other man appropriate or plagiarize the credit for it-but she cannot copyright theoretical knowledge.

 

By committing her understanding of  “Intellectual Property” onto paper, she can make this theoretical knowledge available to her readers. And she does so, by utilizing the trader principle. When two people agree to the terms of an exchange, it is to the mutual benefit of both parties to do so.

 

The United States has had copyright laws on the books nearly from its inception. While in her copyrighted work she cites the Great Britain’s Copyright Act of 1911 as the most rational, the article was made available under the protection of U.S. copyright law. When an individual purchases an item that has been copyrighted, they are agreeing to the terms of the exchange.

 

The Intellectual Property is the text of the work as put forth by the author. The theoretical knowledge contained therein is made available via the copyrighted work. It is the readers’ responsibility to discover the idea which the work embodies, should they so desire. Even so, nature does not guarantee the success of any human endeavor.

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Harrison Danneskjold said: 

While a scientific or philosophic discovery which identifies a law of nature, a principle or a fact of realty not previously known is not the exclusive property of the discoverer because he did not create it.

 

The natural law or our knowledge of it?  If the former then what is the difference between knowledge of how something is (such as the dynamics of a wave) and knowledge of how it ought to be (such as a piano design); for what reason should they be treated so differently?

 

I don't know that they are being treated differently 

 

Both the scientific and philosophic discovery identify a law of nature.

In either case, the basic principle or fact was not previously known.

 

In either (or each respective) case, the identification is a discovery of (what already existed), not the creation of (it). In more subtler terms, the 'creation' is the discovery of the terms in which to articulate the discovery via.

 

* To the moderator that intervened on the neater thread splitting, thank you.

Edited by dream_weaver

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The natural law or our knowledge of it?  If the former then what is the difference between knowledge of how something is (such as the dynamics of a wave) and knowledge of how it ought to be (such as a piano design); for what reason should they be treated so differently?

Another example, our knowledge of gravity provides a basis for some of our knowledge.

 

From the opening paragraphs of  Wikipedia on Eads Bridge:

The Eads Bridge is a combined road and railway bridge over the Mississippi River at St. Louis, connecting St. Louis and East St. Louis, Illinois.

 

The bridge is named for its designer and builder, James B. Eads. When completed in 1874, the Eads Bridge was the longest arch bridge in the world, with an overall length of 6,442 feet (1,964 m). The ribbed steel arch spans were considered daring, as was the use of steel as a primary structural material: it was the first such use of true steel in a major bridge project.

 

The Eads Bridge was also the first bridge to be built using cantilever support methods exclusively, and one of the first to make use of pneumatic caissons. The Eads Bridge caissons, still among the deepest ever sunk, were responsible for one of the first major outbreaks of "caisson disease" (also known as "the bends" or decompression sickness).[5] Fifteen workers died, two other workers were permanently disabled, and 77 were severely afflicted.

 

On June 14, 1874, John Robinson led a "test elephant" on a stroll across the new Eads Bridge to prove it was safe. A big crowd cheered as the elephant from a traveling circus lumbered towards Illinois. It was believed that elephants had instincts that would keep them from setting foot on unsafe structures. Two weeks later, Eads sent 14 locomotives back and forth across the bridge at one time. The opening day celebration on July 4, 1874 featured a parade that stretched fifteen miles through the streets of St. Louis.

 

Mr. Eads researched ribbed arches used historically. He had a grasp of the compressive strength of steel. He had his engineers come up with a cantilevered rigging system to close the arches.

 

His approach rested on integrating several areas of science - determining one particular way specific materials ought be used to accomplish his goal.

 

Where the material properties of different steels available? It would behoove the likes of the Carnegie's and Rockefeller's of the era to provide the various known attributes of their respective products to their perspective clients.

 

A modern Machinist Handbook provides many formulas for analyzing various beam shapes for various structural properties. Some of the formulas had to have been around already by the late 1800's.

 

The 'ought' varied according to the selection of a L beam, an H beam, an E beam, etc., in conjunction with how much mass it was envisioned to work with.

 

 

Side note: Thinking about the various points about Reardon bridge brought up in Atlas Shrugged, and some of the parallels that might be drawn from this excerpt. The steamboat owners organized against it, People doubted it could be done because it had never been done before. Yet those on the project that saw the evidence in favor of it for themselves, pressed on undaunted. Rand's test was not 14 locomotives and a circus of elephants, but the fastest locomotive she could run - with her aboard.

 

Anyway, back to the rest of the story . . .

 

Considering the value added by copying a text seems comparatively easy relative to untangling the complexity that a project like this appears to undertake. I'm getting into this a little deeper than I thought I would when I first started typing this response. Let's see where we go from here.

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In either (or each respective) case, the identification is a discovery of (what already existed), not the creation of (it). In more subtler terms, the 'creation' is the discovery of the terms in which to articulate the discovery via.

The proper conceptualization:thumbsup:  

 

As such, a philosophical (or scientific) discovery which identifies a law of nature, a principle or a fact of reality not previously know, cannot be the exclusive property of the discover because she did not create it.

Specifically, what I meant to point out was that inventors do not create all of the individual machines that they design, either; all they create in the act of invention is a new and useful conceptualization.  So when Rand drew the line between discoveries and inventions, her explicit reasoning was based on some minor equivocation.

That, in and of itself, is not important.

 

What is important is that, judging from everything else she wrote about it, the "creation" variable seems to stand for the is-ought distinction.  A scientist conceptualizes what is while an inventor conceptualizes what should be.

 

That was what I meant to point out.  And I'm sorry for trying to sneak that in sideways, by the way; I suppose I didn't really expect to be taken seriously.  Thank you.

 

Considering the value added by copying a text seems comparatively easy relative to untangling the complexity that a project like this appears to undertake.

Absolutely.  Creative work is in many ways more difficult than physical work; I would even contend that anyone who says otherwise lacks the basis for comparison. 

But is such difficulty essential to property rights?

 

 Let's see where we go from here.

Enthusiastically!

Edited by Harrison Danneskjold

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Harrison asked: "But is such difficulty essential to property rights?"

 

By tracing the history of the replication of printed knowledge, and understanding how technological advances identifies how the act of copying becomes of lesser and lesser value until the answer to the question, wherein does the value of Atlas Shrugged lie? Surely it is not in the costs of setting up the printing press, or replicating an e-book. If Ayn Rand had not written it, it would simply not exist. The point would be mute. What does not exist, cannot be replicated. Since it does exist, what specifically is it, and to whom does it rightfully belong?

 

If I labor to farm, I do so in anticipation of the likelihood of the harvest, i.e.: to get paid, even if only in the form of food from the harvest or livestock.

If I labor for an employer, again I do so to get paid - if on a farm, perhaps in food or livestock - or in industry, some form of wages, some of which may be used to trade my wages for food.

 

The underlying principle is that man, in order to live, must produce his own food, or a product or service others are willing to trade him food for (even if by proxy of monies.)

 

If someone is to labor via research and compilation of ideas into a book, why should the application of this principle be any different?

 

Here too, the complexities of the details to address this begin to proliferate from this point forward.

 

Edited: Added, Struck out.

Edited by dream_weaver

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If I labor to farm, I do so in anticipation of the likelihood of the harvest, i.e.: to get paid, even if only in the form of food from the harvest or livestock.

If I labor for an employer, again I do so to get paid - if on a farm, perhaps in food or livestock - or in industry, some form of wages, some of which may be used to trade my wages for food.

Precisely.  If you do not anticipate a harvest then there is no reason to sow your fields, and the same applies to every other form of human production.  Without purposeful action there can be no production and purposeful action requires long-range planning, which is a conceptual activity.

 

If someone is to labor via research and compilation of ideas into a book, why should the application of this principle be any different?

I don't believe it should be, actually.  If I build a house, I cannot claim to own "houses"; I own the house.  If someone wrote a book called "Atlas Shrugged" then by the same principle they own that original copy of it, fair and square.

The difference comes in when ownership is extended from objects to patterns of objects (such as copies of a novel).

 

Here too, the complexities of the details to address this begin to proliferate from this point forward.

My objection can be boiled down into two parts.  Both of them, in conjunction, constitute the flaw I see in Rand's support of intellectual property.  If you can demonstrate the falsehood of either part then I will emphatically accept IP as flaw-less.

 

1-  "Intellectual property" means the ownership of concepts, themselves, and its only consistent application would be to all concepts.

2-  Conceptual ownership is incompatible with living as man qua man, and ultimately (in the worst imaginable scenario) incompatible with life, full stop.

 

So if there are good reasons for all of the exceptions and limitations on "patentability" or if conceptual ownership would not chain everyone to everyone else's permission then please don't hesitate to point it out.

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Let's start with the second point because I think it will probably be the simpler one.  My reasoning runs like this:

 

P1:  Man can only survive by the use of his reason

p1:  Man's reason is a conceptual process

C1:  Man can only survive by the use of a conceptual process

 

P2:  A concept's inventor is its owner

p2:  An object's owner holds the exclusive right to use it

C2:  A concept's inventor holds the exclusive right to use it

              

P3:  Men should not use what they have no right to

 

P4:  Only a finite variety of conceptualizations are objectively useful

. . .

 

I could fill in the blanks later, if you'd like, but I think you get the idea.

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1-  "Intellectual property" means the ownership of concepts, themselves, and its only consistent application would be to all concepts.

 

 

 

As this response is being researched as it is being written, Google often returns Wikipedia references. With regard to "Intellectual Property"

 

Intellectual property (IP) rights are the legally recognized exclusive rights to creations of the mind. Under intellectual property law, owners are granted certain exclusive rights to a variety of intangible assets, such as musical, literary, and artistic works; discoveries and inventions; and words, phrases, symbols, and designs. Common types of intellectual property rights include copyright, trademarks, patents, industrial design rights, trade dress, and in some jurisdictions trade secrets.

 

Although many of the legal principles governing intellectual property rights have evolved over centuries, it was not until the 19th century that the term intellectual property began to be used, and not until the late 20th century that it became commonplace in the majority of the world. The British Statute of Anne (1710) and the Statute of Monopolies (1624) are now seen as the origins of copyright and patent law respectively.

 

Miss Rand mentions she viewed Great Britain's Copyright Act of 1911 as the most rational. Regarding IP, The British Statute of Anne (1710) turns out to be one of its early predecessors. Again, the introductory paragraphs serve as a pretty good summary of the overall entry.

 

The Statute of Anne (c.19), an act of the Parliament of Great Britain, was the first statute to provide for copyright regulated by the government and courts, rather than by private parties.

 

Prior to the statute's enactment in 1710, copying restrictions were authorized by the Licensing Act of 1662. These restrictions were enforced by the Stationers' Company, a guild of printers given the exclusive power to print—and the responsibility to censor—literary works. The censorship administered under the Licensing Act led to public protest; as the act had to be renewed at two-year intervals, authors and others sought to prevent its reauthorisation. In 1694, Parliament refused to renew the Licensing Act, ending the Stationers' monopoly and press restrictions.

 

Over the next 10 years the Stationers repeatedly advocated bills to re-authorize the old licensing system, but Parliament declined to enact them. Faced with this failure, the Stationers decided to emphasise the benefits of licensing to authors rather than publishers, and the Stationers succeeded in getting Parliament to consider a new bill. This bill, which after substantial amendments was granted Royal Assent on 5 April 1710, became known as the Statute of Anne due to its passage during the reign of Queen Anne. The new law prescribed a copyright term of 14 years, with a provision for renewal for a similar term, during which only the author and the printers they chose to license their works to could publish the author's creations. Following this, the work's copyright would expire, with the material falling into the public domain. Despite a period of instability known as the Battle of the Booksellers when the initial copyright terms under the Statute began to expire, the Statute of Anne remained in force until the Copyright Act 1842 repealed it.

 

The statute is considered a "watershed event in Anglo-American copyright history ... transforming what had been the publishers' private law copyright into a public law grant". Under the statute, copyright was for the first time vested in authors rather than publishers; it also included provisions for the public interest, such as a legal deposit scheme. The Statute was an influence on copyright law in several other nations, including the United States, and even in the 21st century is "frequently invoked by modern judges and academics as embodying the utilitarian underpinnings of copyright law".

 

So copyright laws transferred the right to copy (a book, not just a concept, the idea or theme the book entailed) from the copiers (formerly the scribes, then the printing press owners) to the author and printer(s) the author chose to contract with, with the option to renew (presumably with different printers, if the author so chose.) In this sense, Ayn Rand owned the original Atlas Shrugged manuscript she produced.

 

Clearly, the copyright applies to the original manuscript whether or not she decides to have it printed. Again, if she does not have it printed, nothing follows. You cannot copy something you are not aware of.

 

While Atlas Shrugged is comprised of concepts, it also contains grammar, propositions, logical connections, a theme, et. al. Does IP, as copied from your post, encompass this scope? The book presents the theoretical knowledge (which she discovered, but did not create)  in the form of Atlas Shrugged for anyone who wishes to purchase it. After that, they are free to glean the theoretical knowledge from it, but, by the grace of nature, are not guaranteed to do so.

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1-  "Intellectual property" means the ownership of concepts, themselves, and its only consistent application would be to all concepts.

 

 

While Atlas Shrugged is comprised of concepts, it also contains grammar, propositions, logical connections, a theme, et. al. Does IP, as copied from your post, encompass this scope?

Grammar, propositions, logical connections and a plot-theme (and a plot and a theme) necessarily include concepts; they are constructed out of them.

 

Atlas Shrugged also includes a sense of life though, and I believe it would fall beyond my definition for her to own that.

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A slight pause for this short musical interlude.

 

Most take this tune for granted, yet it was the 1870's, Mozart, wrote "Ah vous dirai-je, Maman". Since then, other concepts have been assigned to the melody to form some other songs. Most are familiar with this tune by three other ditties which also share the same melody. "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star", "Baa, Baa, Black Sheep", and  the "A, B, C, D, E, F, G".

 

How does the relationship between the notes which comprise a melody and the relationship between the concepts which comprise a song differ? Taking a piano, there are only 88 notes. Referencing a dictionary there are over 300,000 words (or concepts). Even though there are only 88 notes on a standard keyboard, this melody is distinctive enough to recognize it is "the same" between the three latter examples provided.

 

As much as I enjoy aspects of mathematics, 300,000 concepts can be conjoined in a heck of a lot of different permutations than the 88 frequencies a piano can fabricate. For now, I'll leave it at that.

 

At what point do we determine that X sequence of Y notes comprises Z melody, providing a basis to ascertain that D sequence of E concepts comprises F book? IP is not about Y and E. Rather it is composed of  X of Y being Z contrasted with D of E comprising F.

 

Doesn't the "theoretical knowledge" of what a "sense of life" is parallel "plot" along with the et. al.?

 

The contention taken with the outline offered in post #8, is the somewhat rationalistic, deductive approach applied to the subject at hand. Perhaps this is why the addressing of point #1 from post #7 seemed more inductively applicable, and from a philosophic detection point of view, the angle that best addressed the issue under scrutiny.

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Let's start with the second point because I think it will probably be the simpler one.  My reasoning runs like this:

 

P1:  Man can only survive by the use of his reason

p1:  Man's reason is a conceptual process

C1:  Man can only survive by the use of a conceptual process

 

P2:  A concept's inventor is its owner

p2:  An object's owner holds the exclusive right to use it

C2:  A concept's inventor holds the exclusive right to use it

              

P3:  Men should not use what they have no right to

 

P4:  Only a finite variety of conceptualizations are objectively useful

. . .

 

I could fill in the blanks later, if you'd like, but I think you get the idea.

 How does a man who originates a concept benefit by being its sole user? Regardless of how many men use a concept, it had to originate with someone. Applying IP to a concept generated by a process of concept formation is a misapplication.

If you are talking about a physical invention, such as a television, or any other widget, referring to the creation simply as a concept invites confusion. P2:p2->C2 seems equivocal or vague.

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Doesn't the "theoretical knowledge" of what a "sense of life" is parallel "plot" along with the et. al.?

I'm not sure I understand the question.

 

The contention taken with the outline offered in post #8, is the somewhat rationalistic, deductive approach applied to the subject at hand. Perhaps this is why the addressing of point #1 from post #7 seemed more inductively applicable, and from a philosophic detection point of view, the angle that best addressed the issue under scrutiny.

Fair enough.  Let me try again.

 

Let us imagine, for a moment, that you wrote something which I found inspiring.  I found it so inspiring, in fact, that I decided to incorporate it into something that I was writing of my own.

I do agree that you, as the originator of the idea, would deserve my gratitude and probably some of my money.  On a moral level it would be an extension of my own intellectual integrity; I should remember at all times where my inspiration came from, in order to maintain my own awareness of reality, and so long as I remember that I should act on it.  Hence, if I value myself at all, I should give credit wherever it is due. 

My issue is not with the moral principle involved but in how it has been politically applied.

 

In short:  if I were to attempt to imitate your artwork (such as in fan-fiction) do you believe that you would have the right to forbid such an attempt and punish me if I disobeyed?  If so, on what grounds?

If not then we already agree and the rest is simply a matter of the details.

Edited by Harrison Danneskjold

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I have to agree with you on the confusion of my own question there. She selects what she considered important and relevant to include in her books, which in turn can resonate with your sense of life.

 

 

If you are hinging you continual reference of IP somehow protects a "concept", consider the broader implication of "idea" in that quote.

 

For IP, in the two identical except for the title a publication venue referenced in the OP, it is not the concepts she is laying claim to. It is the presentation of the idea in that specific form. It is the entire article, as it appears. The theoretical knowledge presented in the article is not owned, just that particular way of presenting the theoretical knowledge, i.e.: the book as a whole - or the essay as a whole. (Also, I'm more focused on the copyright side of the IP issue here, than on the patent application of IP.)

 

As to Alfred Nobel - I looked over the Wikipedia page on him. Almost a couple thousand patents shy of Thomas Edison's, who in turn is bested by Yoshiro Nakamatsu by nearly another couple thousand.

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(Also, I'm more focused on the copyright side of the IP issue here, than on the patent application of IP.)

Okay.  I've almost exclusively focused on the patent side, but the principle should be the same.

 

As to Alfred Nobel - I looked over the Wikipedia page on him. Almost a couple thousand patents shy of Thomas Edison's, who in turn is bested by Yoshiro Nakamatsu by nearly another couple thousand.

Nobel is also an excellent example of my second point, by implication.

 

. . . the physical labor of copying is not the source of the object’s value, that that value is created by the originator of the idea and may not be used without his consent; thus the law establishes the property right of a mind to that which it has brought into existence.  -AR

So the value in a copy of Atlas Shrugged does not come from the printers who copied it; it comes from the author who conceived of it.  However:

The concept “value” is not a primary; it presupposes an answer to the question: of value to whom and for what?  -AR

 

Books are for reading.  Therefore, whatever is written within Ayn Rand's books, belongs to her.  And if any of her readers were to write a book (let's call it "Atlanta Stomped") which explicitly used some of the characters from Atlas Shrugged, that would be a form of theft.

It would not matter that these ideas had passed through another mind and come out differently; that they had been rearranged and reinterpreted; that would constitute copyright infringement, specifically because "John Galt" and "Hank Rearden" are Ayn Rand's ideas.

 

So by an extension of the same reasoning, if that same fan were inspired by Atlas Shrugged- not to write fan fiction, but to blow up Washington- why should Ayn Rand not be held accountable for the consequences of her own ideas?

 

This is why I mention Alfred Nobel, who began the tradition of Nobel prizes because he felt personally responsible for what other people had done with his inventions.

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Since property rights stem from causality, intellectual property rights stem from intellectual causality.

If one man's idea can be considered causally responsible for other people's applications of it [actions] then this does not only hold true for good actions, but also bad.

This is implicit in many of Rand's writings but what would its fully explicit and consistent application look like?

 

If your ideas truly cause other people's actions then what else is implied, both morally and politically?

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Okay.  I've almost exclusively focused on the patent side, but the principle should be the same.

 

The principle is the same, in that IP is protecting specific forms.  

 

Nobel is also an excellent example of my second point, by implication.

I thought the development of the Nobel prize was telling from the headline of the obituary. His family did not want him to be remembered as "The Merchant of Death is Dead".

 

So the value in a copy of Atlas Shrugged does not come from the printers who copied it; it comes from the author who conceived of it. 

 

And this is the key point from the OP.

 

However:

 

Books are for reading.  Therefore, whatever is written within Ayn Rand's books, belongs to her.  And if any of her readers were to write a book (let's call it "Atlanta Stomped") which explicitly used some of the characters from Atlas Shrugged, that would be a form of theft.

It would not matter that these ideas had passed through another mind and come out differently; that they had been rearranged and reinterpreted; that would constitute copyright infringement, specifically because "John Galt" and "Hank Rearden" are Ayn Rand's ideas.

 

So by an extension of the same reasoning, if that same fan were inspired by Atlas Shrugged- not to write fan fiction, but to blow up Washington- why should Ayn Rand not be held accountable for the consequences of her own ideas?

 

This is why I mention Alfred Nobel, who began the tradition of Nobel prizes because he felt personally responsible for what other people had done with his inventions.

This is similar a point drawn one of the other IP threads that drew an analogy that resonated with me using music where chord progressions were exempt from copyright, but the melody should be protected (as to the length of time - I would have to look up the Great Britain copyright law of 1911 to see if what was the most rational to Miss Rand, makes sense to me).

 

If I were to make a copy of Atlas Shrugged and go through it and just change the names of the characters, to me, that is clearly plagiarism.

 

Less clear to me, is if I try to keep the characters true to form as Miss Rand developed them, insert them into an entirely different scenario, such as: Galt, Dagny, Hank and Francisco make a guest appearance on Fantasy Island.

 

If this is our point of contention, it moves more into the legal realm. The "theoretic knowledge" is exempt. By identifying with my key point from my OP, I think you are also agreeing with the source I acquired that key understanding from - the article I referenced to isolate and focus that key point.

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I thought the development of the Nobel prize was telling from the headline of the obituary. His family did not want him to be remembered as "The Merchant of Death is Dead".

I stand corrected.  Thank you!

 

By identifying with my key point from my OP, I think you are also agreeing with the source I acquired that key understanding from - the article I referenced to isolate and focus that key point.

I'm sorry for any ambiguity.  I did not mean that I agree with it; I was restating Rand's reasoning to demonstrate my own grasp of it.  I should have made that explicit.  Sorry.

As to whether or not I agree with the statement that "an object's value does not come from its physical duplication, but its conception," I would first have to ask for clarification: value to whom and for what?

 

If this is our point of contention, it moves more into the legal realm.

Okay.

The concept of "plagiarism" means mindless duplication, in whole or in part.  Whatever is mindlessly duplicated derives its nature, not from the duplicator, but from the originator.

 

Hence, by an extension of the same concept, if one person commits murder and someone else imitates them then the first person is twice guilty.

 

Yes or no?

Edited by Harrison Danneskjold

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While imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, murder is murder, imitation of another's or not.

 

To step back you your value to whom and for what, I may have been too quick to think we had found ourselves on common ground.

 

Let me go back to the farming illustration as it relates to writing, and tease out one of the complexities that stands out to me.

 

Miss Rand spent time and effort writing Atlas Shrugged. As the owner of the manuscript, she is entitled to dispose of it. Simple math would take the $ per hour and multiply it time the number of hours to reach a monetary worth.

 

Would you be willing to pay someone 10 years of salary to read their book? I'm pretty sure I know the answer to that question.

 

She might be able to sell it to a publisher for that, or even twice that or more, if a publisher thought it could turn a profit through their networks. This brings the cost of the book down to make it accessible to a larger audience, while missing out on a potentially higher return on the 10 years invested of her time.

 

If a publisher had to worry about other book printers taking that first copy and replicating it, are they going to be willing to pay an author for their work if others are just going to print it without having to pay the author for their access to the same manuscript?

 

It isn't just about the value of Atlas Shrugged to you, because you want might be looking for a break from the pop fiction writers of 50 Shades of Guilt.

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While imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, murder is murder, imitation of another's or not.

All knowledge is interrelated.  How do you believe "plagiarism" and imitated murder relate?

 

Would you be willing to pay someone 10 years of salary to read their book?

Which book?

 

Since Ayn Rand has accelerated my own grasp of philosophy by lifetimes, and since that knowledge has already improved my own life significantly, it would be Objectively worthwhile for me to pay- perhaps not lifetimes- but several years' worth of wages for such knowledge.

The finer points of aesthetic works are more difficult to quantify but exert no less of an effect; good art makes you feel good and great art should be compensated for greatly.

 

So what sort of book are you referring to?

Edited by Harrison Danneskjold

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Actually, I was considering the benefits that copyright law imparted to relationships of the author, publisher, merchants, and customers. as contrasted to a self-sufficient farming lifestyle.

These are types of integrations I have in mind when thinking about copyright and IP in general. Though to take Harrison's point about the interrelatedness of knowledge coupled with integration and contexuality, I may suggest that this comparison implies a recognition of property rights , perhaps the benefits of copyright and such as opposed hunter gatherers is more to 'hilt' as it were ?

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