Has copyright become a vehicle for opportunism? 21:57 on Wednesday
As I read about Lugz footwear suing Apple over the likeness of an iPod spot, I couldn’t help but think has copyright become a vehicle for opportunism. Yes the ads look alike, but so does a lot of music sound alike. Books and movies borrow plot lines from older works. Sciences build original ideas on top of old ideas.
I believe it is not possible to create anything completely new. The essence of creativity is putting together existing pieces in new ways, thus forming a new whole. As Blaise Pascal put it four centuries ago: “creativity lies not in finding new material but in rearranging what already exists.”
The copyright law no longer draws a distinction between republishing someone’s work (copying works) on the one hand and building upon or transforming that work on the other (creating derivative works).1 This creates a situation, in which copyright owners have the potential to exploit any alleged infringement of their content. Combined with the out-of-proportion damage compensation in copyright cases, this situation becomes quite attractive.
If you own a copyright, just wait until someone (unknowingly) infringes it, sells a million copies of their infringing products, and then sue them for damages.