Man, it’s like IP Daily around here this week!
And the big news from last night is that the audience voted no on the question “Is Intellectual Property Theft?” — but narrowly. It remains a contentious topic — and one I’m torn about myself. I mentioned some IP-related stories that amuse me in last night’s closing comments, though, including:
•Libertarian (and for now humble Institute for Humane Studies staffer) Anne Fortier is at the center of some exciting IP news: She sold the film rights to her not-even-out-yet novel Juliet, and it already has director James Mangold, the writer/director of Girl, Interrupted and Walk the Line, attached to it.
Her novel’s a natural for Hollywood, though: a woman in Italy discovers that her ancestor may have been the inspiration for Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Yeah, now you almost wish you wrote it, don’t you? Congratulations, Anne. (Here’s hoping she urges Mangold to talk his old colleague Angelina Jolie from Girl, Interrupted into finally getting around to playing Dagny Taggart in Atlas Shrugged.)
•Popeye is now public domain in Europe. Well, blow me down!
•Without IP, many worry, someone like George Lucas might not have gone to the effort to make Star Wars — but then again, his original desire was to remake Flash Gordon anyway, and he only did Star Wars because he couldn’t get the rights to Flash (and if you want to feel old, by the way, try asking people under thirty if they know who Flash Gordon is).
•Maori tribes tried to sue Lego’s Bionicles robot toy line because the robot backstory is based on Maori legend. Think of the traditionalistic constraints upon creative people everywhere if the Maori’d won that strange fight. (Would Juliet be possible? Would the actual Romeo and Juliet have been written in the first place, given that Shakespeare rarely came up with his own original plots?)
•Should I feel guilty enjoying another Underworld movie in two weeks, given that it’s pretty likely the producer of the films ripped off the idea of a vampire-werewolf war from a role-playing game? And should nerds resent him even more for being married to Kate Beckinsale in addition? Or does that, combined with the films, make him more god than man (at least some sort of unnatural hybrid)…and thus above your earthly laws?
And if you don’t think Kate Beckinsale herself has unnatural powers, you’ve plainly forgotten this photo I linked to about six months, six days, and six hours or so ago, of her trick or treating with her daughter. But enough Satanism — let’s get back to statism, the real threat, by which I mean Obama advisor Cass Sunstein, about whom, more tomorrow.