Silverwolf’s Unorthodox View on Copyright

Silverwolf believes that, when it comes to artistic creations such as writings, conventional music, photography and film, and virtually any other medium, there should be no such thing as intellectual copyright.

First, let’s examine the worst reason for this view: the often bandied about Leftist “solidarity” of so many artists with “The People”. Anyone who adopts a Communistic attitude towards material goods should surely support such a Communistic view towards copyright. So, Silverwolf must wonder why, after so many decades, he still sees those little circled “c”s on so many artistic products emanating from Stage Left. Surely, such individuals should believe that they owe their all to the proletariat, and certainly forcing the prolls to have to purchase artistic creations is one of the most hypocritical activities a Leftist could undertake, in Silverwolf’s view.

But now let’s examine the actual reasons for why virtually all artistic Copyright is a fraud.

Firstly, all the components used in these creations are themselves creations of others, who are not receiving one iota of credit or material compensation for having their creations used currently. Do Shakespeare, or the Hathaway descendants, receive one penny in royalties when someone uses a word first coined by Shakespeare in one of their verbal compositions? Literally, every word we use is the creation of an individual, or a collective society which spread the use of a word (and probably a word created by someone long forgotten). When contemporary writers use these inventions of others, do they ever bother to annotate each word with a reference, or even a word of thanks, to the first person listed as having used it in the Oxford English (Unabridged) Dictionary? Silverwolf has never seen it. Are not these writers committing flagrant theft? Yet, they then have the gall to claim that their arrangement of these creations of others deserves some kind of special treatment, and even belongs to them, and that people should have to pay money for their arrangement of these words, for a very long time indeed.

Music presents a very similar situation. The notes were invented long ago, as were the instruments used to reproduce them. Anyone claiming copyright on music, should actually have to pay copyright to the inventors of notes and silence, and the inventors of musical instruments. Likewise, virtually all musical ideas are based on previous musical ideas, often created by a forgotten musician at a fraternity beerbash, or created hundreds of years back by some drunken Renaissance man. Monteverdi and Frescobaldi are probably at the root of all modern music, but who ever gives them a cheer, or even a word of thanks, at the rock concert? Such ingratitude!

Of course, photography and film also fall into this category. Since all photons are created by Providence, and the photographer or film maker is certainly not creating the light but rather the Process of G-d, it really is a bit much to have people claim that a photograph is “theirs”.  And Cinema presents us with merely a more complex art which is at core made up of the other arts we are discussing: writing, music, the capture of photons. Actors, as Hitchcock realized, are merely cattle, conditioned to deflect the photons in whatever pattern the director chooses to choose (and then claim as his own).

(And here we digress to record an actual conversation that took place, so legend goes, on the old Hollywood trail.

Billy: Mornin, Hitch. Sure is a fine lookin herd of actors we got us here.

Hitch: Yep, they ought to make some fine prime sirloin, once we drive em in to Hollywood.

Billy: Man, they sure are dumb critters, aint they?

Hitch: Yep, jes give em a little of that buttered flattery, and they’s is tame as a caponed rabbit. Then you can move em around, just so, so that the photons hit there faces just right. And voila, you got another hit.

Billy: Whats vowala mean Hitch?

Hitch: I dunno? Say, you and the boys are certainly gettin a reputation out in these parts. They’s startin to call you the Wilder Bunch.

Billy: Hitch, one day the names of Billy and the Wilder Bunch will be known from coast to coast.

Hitch: Well, you jes make sure it’s for the right reasons, or they’ll be no shortages of witnesses for the prosecution.

Billy: You sure got a strange sense of humor, Hitch.

Hitch: Yeh, and you got what they call “Prisoner’s Ears”. Well, Billy, I’d say it’s goin to get dark pretty soon round here.

Billy: You sure know your lighting, Hitch.

Hitch: Yep, I sure do, don’t I. Better get them doggies bedded down for the night, Billy, and pronto.

Billy: Aw, Hitch, you know it dun’t take more than a minute or two to get an actor and them heifers bedded down together.)

 In fact, the Copyright notion is so ridiculous when it comes to film, that filmmakers have often given a sop to their collaborators by endlessly listing their names at the end or the beginnings of “their” films. The Collectivist nature of filmmaking must be overlooked, and the fiction maintained that it is a film by “so and so”. But you’ll notice that the Producer, the fellow who writes the check that sets the whole process in motion, is the one who usually gets the last credit. In his mind “He” is the real maker of the film. Yet, none of these will admit that it is the photons, the ancient words, the long-ago created notes, the previously discovered technical effects, and the hit-and-miss theatricals of quondam films, that brings about the latest “creation”? Kinda like saying the cook made the meal, when it was the farmer who actually grew the food, and the trucker who hauled it to town, and the boxboy who unpacked it onto the shelf, and the gas company that supplied the cooking fuel. Nor do they ever point to the creators and the manufacturers of cameras as the real creators of photography and film. Have you ever seen a film created by “Bolex” with the assistance of a lot of so-and-sos?

Moving on to a completely different class (apparently), we come to that of “inventions”, those devilishly ingenious gizmos that eccentric American grumpy old men have been developing in their “shops” for a good century now. “Now, why didn’t I think of that?”, is the ubiquitous response when readers come across these gems in some popular mechanical magazine. Up to that moment, no one had ever thought of that, but when presented to the mind of the non-inventor, the first question is “That’s so obvious, why did that never strike me?”  Well, the obvious and existential answer is that  it never struck you because you were not bright enough to ever have it cross your mind.

The famous “grapefruit squirter shield spoon cum juice wiper” is a prime example. What enterprising mind came up with the idea of a grapefruit spoon with an attached shield to protect the devourer from those nasty spits of acid juice that have wreck so many a suit? It was bad enough to not have thought of such an obvious one. But to not transcend this very obvious improvement with the further refinement of a battery operated shield wiper, so that the devourer could continue to make sure he wasn’t swallowing any seeds, shows the non-inventor the poverty of his imagination.

But in this case, has the inventor really invented something new, or merely taken two old ideas, the windshield, and the windshield wiper, and applied them to the necessity of FED officials who have to attend early morning prayer breakfasts, in which the main prayer is that the world will continue to believe in the US Dollar, before they attend Congressional hearings ,where the entire financial nation will be watching every bead of sweat on their beaded brows?  To have grapefruit juice stains on their FED official ties could seriously undermine the international stability of the Dollar, and therefore there was a huge market for these spoons, at whatever price one could unload them to the FED for, certainly many times their actual value, as is permitted now. When the penny dropped, and it finally dawned on the Democrats that it could also be used to keep egg off their ties, before they questioned the FED officials on television, it’s use spread to the Liberal halls of congress. Some of the Congressional Women even used it to keep egg off their coiffures.

The point being, inventions follow the same pattern as so-called artistic creations. They are constructed from the tiny atoms of truth found by earlier scientists, and then re-arranged into new patterns, but certainly not created from scratch. (The exception being when there is a scientific revolution that completely sweeps away all the former misbeliefs, like the abandonment of the “ether” and “phlogiston” theories. Or the discovery of sub-atomic particles, which look more and more like patterns of energy without substance, save for that energy. And does this prove that Bishop Berkeley’s Subjectivism is perhaps the ultimately true philosophy?)

So lets away with the fraud of Copyright, of invention, of creation! There is only the tired repetition of the artistic maxims,  ad nauseum ad infinitum, over and over, and occasionally a new arrangement which the artistically starved pounce on as “the latest creation”.

G-d created everything long ago. All Copyright is is the malappropriation of G-d’s creations under the guise of the ego.

Silverwolf’s blogs were created a billion years ago. All he is doing is manifesting ancient atoms of axioms. There is no creation involved. Why, Silverwolf’s so-called “creations”  are as determined by the laws of physics, as much as a black hole, or the start of combustion in the old potbellied stove. So if you don’t like them, don’t put the blame on him. It’s not his fault, and he really had nothing to do with it.

Hoooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooowwwwwww! — Silverwolf

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6 Responses to “Silverwolf’s Unorthodox View on Copyright”

  1. Davis Says:

    You just saved me having to write a posting on Christmas Day — I’ll just copy yours! Thanks!

  2. lobobreed Says:

    Davis — Sure, go ahead, what’s mine is yours, since it was created by the Universal Mind.

    But wait a minute, ain’t that plagiarism, of which there has been a veritable plague recently in the blogosphere? Ain’t that a malappropriation of gentlemanly property rights? If we’re going to forgo copyright, we should at least be sporting about it and not steal the other fellows arrangements of words. In fact, now I think of it, you sound like a dangerous Communist, Davis, trying to misappropriate my artistic arrangement. How dare you, Sir?

    But wait a minute, if you copy my blog and call it your own, you’ve merely spread my views and philosophy around the world, actually increasing the effect of my message, and helping to subvert the great illusion of copyright within the purview of arising world youth. I should be grateful to you for that.

    So, copy away, Davis. You’re very welcome. — Silverwolf

  3. hpx83 Says:

    And alas, we arrive at a point in time/space/ether we’re we have diametrically opposed opinions. Your reasoning is based on the notion that nothing is ever more than the sum of its components. But how is it then, that one series of letters (like this one) can be used to describe something more than the words encapsulated within it, while another (like aklsdfngalöndf) may be completely useless as it comes to the communicating anything but the series itself?

    The “value” created by artists may be questioned, and personally I do not believe it contributes anything near the value created by the vast array of inventions that today allow us to live a better, more pleasent, more giving and more peaceful life than ever before. But the fact that someone prefers listening/viewing/experiencing whatever the artist has created instead of, for example, staring at a concrete wall is to me necessary proof that there is a value in what has been created.

    And while I agree that some laws and regulations in regards to copyright and intellectual property are outright silly (the Mickey Mouse debacle for instance), if we do not allow people to claim the right (i.e. sold but further distribution denied) to what they have created, how will any true artist (the kind that demands payment for his services) ever stay in business after realizing that he is in for nothing but expectations that his productions should be free?

  4. lobobreed Says:

    hpx83 — Don’t take this piece too seriously. I wrote it somewhat tongue in cheek, to make people think more than as a serious theory. (I put it in the Humor catagory). Of course, most of these artistic creations and inventions would never get created if it were not for copyright laws. The operation of Capitalist incentive in the artistic realm has never been lacking, whether today, or in the days of Michelangelo or Shakespeare. Copyright laws bring order into that process, and tell the writer that, at least, if he spent the last two years working on a novel and it is commercially successful, he will be remunerated for his efforts. Who would craft a masterpiece of literature if someone else could run it off on a copy machine and capture 99% of its sales?

    However, I do object to what I feel to be excessively long periods of copyright when it comes to music and videofilm releases. It seems to me that after 20 years, or even 10 years, the vast bulk of sales and profits have been made, and to say that a song cannot be played in public after twenty years by a street musician trying to make spare change or for the sole pleasure of the audience, or that a 30 year old movie cannot be shown to a group of pensioners, or children, or bored oil platform workers, seems absurd. And since certain copyrights do currently expire, so that the principle that time eventually turns a private intellectual creation into a public asset is already established in tradition, and since, as I have said, all words and language are mere copyings of the creations of others (except for your example of the nonsense word), though the arrangement may be unique, it seems to me that it would enrich culture inestimably if copyright times were drastically reduced on most artistic media.

    However, for commercial reasons, I can well understand why copyrights on practical inventions may last or have to last for a very long time (say, to recoup development costs).

    But I do think the question of whether there should be any such thing as intellectual copyright on artistic creations is one that should be pondered. I could understand a point of view that would maintain that all such copyright is a humbug.

    So, in answer to your question in the last paragraph, artistic copyright may be the necessary sop that society must give to the creative artist to milk him of some of his creations. It may be merely a bribe, pure and simple, just like paying the piper if you want to dance to the tune. And you recall what happened to the inhabitants of Hamlin town, when they backed out of paying the piper.

    Or do you think that copyright should exist for all eternity? — Silverwolf

  5. hpx83 Says:

    Copyright is, like any other human invention, means to an end. I would say that the end is to give artists the possibility to create and reap the benefits from their creation. Thus it would make sense to put the maximum timelimit for any copyright to be the lifetime of the artist. If the timelimit should be shorter than this seems merely an evaluation to be made in regards to what is plausible.

    The debate is very infected – especially if you live in Sweden, home of the Pirate Bay 😉 I am one of the few of my generation that are prinicipially against digital piracy, although I appreciate that the question is somewhat more complicated than simply yes/no. There is probably a good incentive to lower copyright and intellectual property times – to the extent that people in general agree that it should be respected. Unfortunately any copyright is ultimately not in the hand of the legislator and judicial system, rather in the hands of public opinion. While I will not agree that this makes it right to break existing laws, it does make the need for more “dynamic” regulations more important. I think it would be in the best interests of both artists and public that copyright times where set so that the public generally felt that it was logical, which would heavily reduce digital piracy and thus make it easier to guarantee that laws are followed.

    The most disturbing part of the whole thing is how slow mainstream media has been to adapt to the distribution models created by piracy more than a decade ago. That if anything shows that there is an over-bureucracy that needs a heavy boot up their ass when it comes to the larger media labels.


  6. lobobreed Says:

    hpx83 — Three additions I have to make. Firstly, you mention that the debate in Sweden has become poisoned. I recall reading the back and forth between Steven Kinsella, and his critics, on concerning this question of copyright. Opinions were extremely heated, even hostile. Copyright seems to bring out the pitbull in people. You might find some interesting material rummaging around some of his old posts on Mises if you can find them.

    Secondly, you are right about the distribution methods of pirates. Technology has given people the power to get around the copyright safeguards, though this was also true in 1958 if one bought a Wollensak tape recorder. Seems to me that, like deflation, the problem is not that copyright law is being violated, it’s that there is so much material floating around in the digital world, clamouring for attention, that any specific piece of material is very lucky indeed to be taken up by masses of people. Giving away one’s creations, or some of one’s creations for free, may increase market share to the point that the non-free creations become wildly profitable. Sort of like dumping steel on the market to wipe out your competitors, one of the most beautiful caracoles in the dance of Capitalism.

    Lastly, I’d have to disagree with your view that a “true” artist is someone who demands profit for their creations. While this is true of the commercial or professional artist, I think that someone painting an excellent picture solely for the pleasure of the act is still art, and the profit motive has absolutely nothing to do with it. The Aussie Aboriginal, painting on a rock, didn’t do it for Aussie dollars, or even metal. I’d bet a lot of the artisans working on the Gothic Cathedrals of Europe didn’t have any profit motive whatsoever except religious ecstasy.

    Modern man is so heavily conditioned by the profit motive, though his organized religions tell him it is wicked. This is the great contradiction of America; a culture based on a religion that says, if you would be perfect, sell all and give it to the poor, while it also says to the individual that his only worth is found in the vastness of his material possessions. No wonder Americans are so often goofy.

    Art is outside of the realm of profit and the profit motive. However, the Leftist “artists” I have met in my life, living off state grants, are amongst the most materialistic, profit-oriented people I’ve ever met. They should really be working in the City of London. — Silverwolf

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