Against Monopoly

defending the right to innovate

Monopoly corrupts. Absolute monopoly corrupts absolutely.

Copyright Notice: We don't think much of copyright, so you can do what you want with the content on this blog. Of course we are hungry for publicity, so we would be pleased if you avoided plagiarism and gave us credit for what we have written. We encourage you not to impose copyright restrictions on your "derivative" works, but we won't try to stop you. For the legally or statist minded, you can consider yourself subject to a Creative Commons Attribution License.


Questions and Challenges For Defenders of the Current Copyright Regime

Take a look at some the great works of Dave Devries from his "Monster Engine" project.

Given the fact that:

1. There is no doubt that the children's original doodles are protected by copyright for their entire life, plus 70 additional years.

2. There is no doubt that Devries' paintings of the doodles are 'derivative works' stemming from the original creations of the children.

Do you believe that Devries should be forced to get formal copyright releases from each and every one of the kids in question? Do you think he has done so? If so, should they be able to repudiate their copyright agreement when they turn 18 since many jurisdictions allow minors to repudiate contracts signed before they reach 18? If so, should they be able to take Devries's work out of circulation?

Do you think that the children should all share in the royalties from books, art and showcases that Devries produces for the rest of their lives (and beyond - for 7 decades)? Do you think that is in fact the case of what is going on? If Devries hasn't gotten a copyright release and/or isn't paying royalties, do you feel that he is somehow "exploiting" these kids or "stealing" from them?

If you answered 'No' to any of these questions, why not? Given how we know copyright law operates with respect to works created by media corporations, shouldn't it apply similarly here? Or is copyright law only supposed to be for the "benefit" of authors when they are attached to big businesses backed by the legal system?

After all, some commenters on this site have argued that one should not be able to make an entirely new James Bond film without permission due to copyright restrictions. I presume that The Monster Engine should be forced to jump through the same legal hoops, no?

I can't help but suspect that there is some major hypocrisy at work here in how copyright law is selectively applied in order to benefit special interests at the expensive of incentives for maximizing the creation and distribution of new works. (And please spare me the 'fair use' argument. I would completely agree that this should be considered fair use. But if it is, then one must concede that fair use should be applied by the courts far more generously that it currently is - so much so that it would effectively altogether omit the copyright protections which currently prevent the creations of 'derivative works'.)


I propose another whole class of questions like "would the children doodle less if the state didn't enforce copyrights?"
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I think the copyright of the invention or project should be reserved. After all takes time and dedication to the concept of invention and inventors to protect must also encourage them to generate even more inventions. Thank you.

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I find it interesting that based purely on speculation an seemingly without having any actual knowledge of what agreements Dave DeVries actually has with the young artists and their parents/guardians (did you ask?), you are expounding on his "right" to use the artworks and any possible legal recourse the children have.

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