By: Mark R. Malek
As you know, I have been in somewhat of a debate with some folks on Twitter.com regarding copyright protection. See my previous article for more information. Today it all kind of became clear to me. The copyright abolitionist does not have any problem with copyright law. Instead, the copyright abolitionist has a problem with anyone but the author of the original work actually making money on the copyright.
This became evident when the copyright abolitionist that I have been debating with indicated to me that he planned on writing a novel. I kept calling it a “book” which apparently was inaccurate. I was informed that he was not writing a book, but instead was writing a novel. Personally, this is just semantics. He indicated to me that a book is just a bunch of bound pages…whatever. Since I heard that he was creating an original work, I decided to take his point of view and told him that as soon as it was available anywhere, I intended on photocopying it and selling it myself for a profit.
After all, the view of the copyright abolitionist does not provide a mechanism for preventing me from committing such an act. So raise your hands if you think I actually talked any sense into my adversary. I don’t see any hands up. Of course not. I was then informed that he intends on selling the first copy of the novel for $100,000. After that, he does not care who copies it and for what price.
Anyone ready to come back to reality? Pardon the language, but who in the hell would pay $100,000 a book? Yes, I called it a book. I understand if it is some sort of rare book that is clearly not a reproduction, i.e, the bible that Abraham Lincoln swore the presidential oath on, or something along those lines. That’s not even close to what we are talking about here. In this case, what my adversary misses is that the value in this book will be in the exclusive right to use it and/or profit from it. Copyright allows the owner such exclusive rights.
Without copyrights, there is no enforceable rights that the holder of the original work has. Unless there is some sort of market that provides for ridiculous prices for the ranting of a mad man on Twitter that puts his words onto paper, then there is no way that the book could possibly be worth $100k. Instead, if he was selling the original work along with the right for the purchaser to exploit the work as he/she deemed fit, then perhaps there would be a market because the purchaser could have the exclusive right to copy and sell the original work. That’s the way the $100k investment could be turned into a profit.
Again, the copyright abolitionist has made my point for me. Despite that fact, I will continue to listen to their ridiculous arguments on Twitter and laugh about them as copyrights will continue to be the only way to protect original works of authorship. Before you go commenting against this article, understand that I am not taking the position that copyright reform is not in order. I am merely taking the position that copyright abolition is not feasible or realistic.