Re: Copyrights

Ian (
Sat, 8 May 1999 16:11:18 +0100

     Lee Daniel Crocker.
     Let's say that a writer takes ten years of full-time writing (and undertakings connected to this, like research) to write his new book.  Full-time writing means that there is little time left for him to work to support himself while he is working on his book.  Few writers can afford taking that long to write a new book, since their accumulated money will not last that long.  A few , however, are able to live on the income from an earlier book.  If they were forced to depend on constantly being interesting enough to their would-be customers to be able to sell a newsletter for a living -- even though they hadn't published any new work in ten years -- it would probably become impossible to take that long to write a book.  To this you may reply that no writer should have to take ten years to write a book, but I fear that would make quality very much rarer than it is today (and it's rare enough as it is).  What happens when somebody is an accomplished writer but worthless as an entert

ainer? Perhaps he is incapable of making a newsletter which is interesting enough for him to be able to support himself by selling subscriptions. Perhaps he is incapable (due to mental or physical ailments, say) of sitting in a bookstore signing books. Should he then be forced to "work for a living by singing jingles and doing bar mitzvahs" as well? This sounds like cruel and unusual punishment.

>Is there something special
>about creative work as opposed to physical or mental labor

Yes. Any human being not physically or severely mentally handicapped can do physical labour. How many can write a book worth reading or an enjoyable symphony?

>warrants special treatment? I don't think so.

     Are you an egalitarian?  The term "Special treatment" seems to indicate the assumption that every other type of work is paid for in exactly the same way.  This is not the case.  People are paid in different ways depending on what type of work they perform.  For most people it is enough to be able to do one type of work, however.  It might therefore be argued that to demand that a writer should be able to perform several types of work constitutes "special treatment."  I grant you, however, that it seems unlikely that artists in the future will be able to receive the kind of money they can today, since it will become increasingly easy to obtain copies of their work without paying for it.  Unlike you, I consider that to be a less desirable situation than what is the case today.