This Blog Has Moved!

My blog has moved. Check out my new blog at

Your Ad Here

Friday, February 4, 2011

Wicked And Copyright Law

There's a book and play called "Wicked". It's "The Wizard of Oz", told from the viewpoint of the Wicked Witch of the West.

The copyright for "The Wizard of Oz" has expired. That book and play don't violate anyone's copyright.

Unfortunately, Congress has repeatedly retroactively extended copyright law. For most things written in the 20th century, the copyright has not expired. Most copyrights are owned by large corporations.

Copyright law has been used for censorship. It's been used to prevent people from publishing books that retell popular stories.

Here are examples of books that were quashed by copyright law:

  1. the wind done gone (was actually published)
  2. 60 Years Later: Coming Through the Rye ("Catcher in the Rye" unauthorized sequel)
  3. an unauthorized Harry Potter encyclopedia ("Harry Potter Lexicon)
Everyone can make their own version of these stories:\
  1. Shakespeare
  2. Sherlock Holmes
  3. A Christmas Carol
  4. Mark Twain (notably, removing the "n-word")
If I tried to write my own story based on Superman, Batman, Tolkein, Dr. Seuss, Charlie Brown, The Muppets, or anything from the 20th century, I would be sued for copyright infringement. Congress has repeatedly retroactively extended copyright law.

Many popular stories are now part of everyone's shared culture. It's wrong for them to still be copyrighted.

"Wicked" is an example of a clever story. It's only possible because the "Wizard of Oz" copyright has expired.


Anonymous said...

Copyright can be infinitely misused.

Suppose I ask Joe Bloggs to write a book on small domestic cats. Joe Bloggs asks me how much I will pay and I decide to walk away at that point. No money changes hands. No contracts are signed.

A few years later I find out Joe Bloggs has written a book on African wildlife. The book talks about elephants, rhinos, hippos, snakes and has a few pages in the book about lions.

I say to myself, lions are just big versions of domestic small cats and so Joe Bloggs owes me a percentage cut from his book despite the fact I haven't seen him for years. Maybe I can pay him for the work now. I can give him $100 and he gives me 50% of the proceeds of his book (maybe tens of thousands of dollars). I mean why can't I pay late?

This may seem ridiculous but lawyers are so slimy and corrupt, they will take on cases like this. I mean lions are just big cats and so it is obvious Joe Bloggs owes me money!!!

You only have to inspect current news stories to see that there are intellectual property cases not too dissimilar to the ridiculous case mentioned here.

Do you own copyright just because you vaguely asked someone to do something vaguely like some work he/she has done now, but you never even paid for it and you did the vague, verbal only asking many years ago?

Finding out case law is difficult. There may be a case that took place 10 years ago, where this point was worked out, but in amongst all the thousands of cases how do you find it?

If the case goes to court the costs could be hundreds of thousands of dollars or even millions. The case could take years. Do you have the money for fight?

Anonymous said...

Was Sherlock Holmes a story? I thought he was real ;-)

Jeremy Brett played the character of Sherlock Holmes in a television series. He was excellent in the part. His portrayal is thought to be the best Sherlock Holmes ever. You really ought to see some of them.

Anyway Jeremy's wife died and he became depressed. Doctors prescribed lithium to him. The lithium caused him to bloat up.

Jeremy eventually died.

My opinion is he should never have taken the lithium. If he got to his forties or fifties without having depression before, then it is obviously there was nothing fundamentally wrong with him and he should not have been prescribed lithium. Talking should have been prescribed as the cure, or going on holiday or maybe taking a break.

Anonymous said...

Can we cast Sarah Palin as the Wicked Witch?

Maybe Obama could be the wizard behind the curtain.

FSK said...

The original Wizard of Oz was a rant about monetary policy.

"Follow the yellow brick road" = gold standard.

It was changed from *SILVER* shoes to ruby for the movie. The idea was to promote bimetallism.

"Emerald city" = greenback.

Anonymous said...

Michael Douglas is the famous actor that starred in Wall Street, which was made in 1987.

His wife divorced him and in the settlement got half the proceeds of all the films he made while he was married to her. His wife specified she should get money from any spin-offs.

In 2010, Michael Douglas starred in Wall Street 2 - Money Never Sleeps. This film can be considered a sequel.

I've seen both films and Wall Street 2 is significantly different to the first one. The themes are very different. The script is different. Apart from Michael and a tiny appearance from Charlie Sheen the actors are different.

In terms of intellectual property Wall Street II owes practically nothing to the first film. Only the name of Michael's character is the same and that is trivial.

Yet a lawyer took on the case of his ex-wife to get a cut of this new film's proceeds.

Shockingly Michael's ex-wife phoned him while he was sick with cancer to tell him she will postpone the court case against him until he is better. He put the phone down.


If you do anything decent there will always be a clown you knew in your past maybe a decade ago that will come out from the filth under a rock to harass and extort money from you. And an army of immoral lawyers that will send you pages of threats without any real content i.e. references to law or evidence. "You have 1 week to hand over a bundle of cash in used notes otherwise you will have to pay 10x the amount in court costs!"

Anonymous said...

Why can't the author of "60 Years Later" say he or she invented a time machine and asked the original author of "Catcher in the Rye" to write said book?

Then he/she would only the intellectual property for both books.

You may laugh, but this is only a slip away from the ludicrous cases lawyers take up.

Lawyers get away with ridiculous copyright threats because other lawyers are in on the sick game of getting fees to cases that go nowhere.

If you just make threats about a court case and demands for money, but never submit a case to court you can never lose.

That is the disadvantage when a court system wants deals made outside of court or when court proceedings are slow and too expensive. You have have just plain silly cases going forward. They would be too embarrassing to be aired in a public court.

If you have to pay a year's wages in lawyer's fees for ultimately a case against you that goes nowhere, you won't think these things are so much of a joke.

Anonymous said...

The way some lawyers' letters are worded and the way some civil cases are conducted (burden of proof is on the defendant), then it is up to the owners of the copyright of the original book to prove that time travel is not impossible.

It is impossible to prove negatives (only positives).

So can someone prove that someone else did not ask them to do something years ago?

No. So you are out of luck and anyone can extort money from you. The only solution is not to record anything or write anything down.

If you write something down in your own house then you may stolen copyrighted material from someone you may never have spoken to for many years. Can you prove they didn't ask you to write that down maybe 5 years ago?

They don't have documentary evidence of anything, but you can't prove negatives either.

Their lawyer wants a suitcase of cash from you within 1 week or they say they will hold court costs against you.

This Blog Has Moved!

My blog has moved. Check out my new blog at