Ira Brodsky (
Tue, 3 Sep 1996 11:19:22 -0600

>>My solution is to disallow copyright laws in cyberspace, but maintain them
>>in realspace.

E. Shaun Russell wrote:

> If this were to happen, potential criminals could get the message
>that it's okay to steal rights from another person on the net, but it's not
>okay to steal off the net. What exactly is the difference between on and
>off the net? Stealing is stealing. If I, E. Shaun Russell, am going to
>post a poem somewhere, I like to know that potential criminals may be
>deterred by the law. Whether or not the law is widely enforced is of little
>If someone reads 'the author requests that you contact him before you take a
>copy', then the average person would probably do so. If there is nothing on
>the page that identifies the author's requests, they may accidentally be
>broken. Hence, the copyright law. The fact that the law is in place can't
>hurt anyone.

I derive a significant portion of my income from writing, so I've given
this considerable thought. First, I think the threat of copyright-free
cyberspace is greatly exaggerated. I don't see books and magazines losing
their advantage over on-screen and computer printout documents any time
soon. Second, it would require draconian government measures (which many
technocrats and lawyers would welcome) to enforce copyrights in cyberspace.
Chris Hind hit the nail on the head: what people will pay for in
cyberspace is immediacy -- and there are technical means of defending that

I'm not sure what to do for poets. Very few make enough money to worry
about. Personally, I think poets -- who are supposed to be creative
people, right? -- need to come up with a few new marketing angles. Perhaps
richly-illustrated texts or a for-profit, Poem-of-the-moment service on the
Net. Hey, if people call 900 numbers for astrologers and wake-up calls...
Think about it.

But if you get rich with my Poem-of-the-moment idea, remember: you owe me
royalties. <g>

Ira Brodsky
Datacomm Research Company
Wilmette, Illinois