Shakespeare did not copyright

From Slashdot | Orson Scott Card Blasts J.K. Rowling’s Lawsuit

Re:The Hero with a Thousand Faces (Score:5, Insightful)

by MightyMartian (840721) on Thursday May 01, @03:29PM (#23267028)

Actually, there was little or nothing that Shakespeare could have done in his time to prevent someone writing a play called Humlet Duke of Dinmark. And yet Shakespeare did alright financially (well enough to build a theater), and, in fact, has been regarded for much of that time as being not only one of the greatest writers in the English language, but in the entire history of our species. That his plays have been cribbed by later playwrights, writers and into the modern age movie and TV show creators has not diminished his reputation.

The idea that a writer could make fanastical amounts of money (and let’s be honest here, there are only a handful of authors that have had the kind of success Rowlings has had) simply by writing is a pretty new one. Do you think Homer got royalties every time a copy of the Illiad was produced? Do you think the Akkadian kings went after people that made copies of the Gilgamesh epic, or added their own bits to it? The story of world literature is one of works being added to, chronicled and sometimes even being outright stolen (the Hebrews did it when they ripped off big chunks of the Sumero-Akkadian creation and cosmographical myths). Do you think world literature over the five or six thousand years that it has existed (many times longer if you count oral transmission of stories) has suffered because for the overwhelming majority of that time authors had little or no protection against plagiarism and unauthorized derivative works?

[Slashdot] [Digg] [Reddit] [] [Facebook] [Technorati] [Google] [StumbleUpon]

Comments are closed.