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Robert Appino

gladwell dot com - something borrowed - 86 views

  • Under copyright law, what matters is not that you copied someone else's work. What matters is what you copied, and how much you copied. Intellectual-property doctrine isn't a straightforward application of the ethical principle "Thou shalt not steal." At its core is the notion that there are certain situations where you can steal. The protections of copyright, for instance, are time-limited; once something passes into the public domain, anyone can copy it without restriction.
    • Robert Appino
      This is the key to copyright according to Gladwell.
  • initial monopoly on your creation because we want to provide economic incentives for people to invent things like cancer drugs. But everyone gets to steal your breast-cancer cure—after a decent interval—because it is also in society's interest to let as many people as possible copy your invention; only then can others learn from it, and build on it, and come up with better and cheaper alternatives. This balance between the protecting and the limiting of intellectual property
  • Constitution: "Congress shall have the power to promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited"—note that specification, limited—"Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries."
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  • In ordinary language, to call a copyright a "property" right is a bit misleading, for the property of copyright is an odd kind of property. . . . I understand what I am taking when I take the picnic table you put in your backyard. I am taking a thing, the picnic table, and after I take it, you don't have it. But what am I taking when I take the good idea you had to put a picnic table in the backyard—by, for example, going to Sears, buying a table, and putting it in my backyard? What is the thing that I am taking then? The point is not just about the thingness of picnic tables versus ideas, though that is an important difference. The point instead is that in the ordinary case—indeed, in practically every case except for a narrow range of exceptions—ideas released to the world are free. I don't take anything from you when I copy the way you dress—though I might seem weird if I do it every day. . . . Instead, as Thomas Jefferson said (and this is especially true when I copy the way someone dresses), "He who receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mine, receives light without darkening me."
  • arguments that Lessig has with the hard-core proponents of intellectual property are almost all arguments about where and when the line should be drawn between the right to copy and the right to protection from copying, not whether a line should be drawn.
  • when it comes to literature, we have somehow decided that copying is never acceptable.
  • A successful music executive has to understand the distinction between borrowing that is transformative and borrowing that is merely derivative, and that distinction, I realized, was what was missing from the discussion of Bryony Lavery's borrowings.
  • problem with plagiarism. It is not merely extremist. It has also become disconnected from the broader question of what does and does not inhibit creativity.
  • But the truth is that Lavery has every right to create an affair for Agnetha, because Agnetha is not Dorothy Lewis. She is a fictional character, drawn from Lewis's life but endowed with a completely imaginary set of circumstances and actions.
  • dred and seventy-five rather ordinary words could bring the walls tumbling down.
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