Did Scott Turow Keep The Copyright On His NY Times Op-Ed About The Importance Of Copyright?

from the questions,-questions dept

We were among many different commentators who mocked the recent op-ed in the NY Times by Authors Guild boss (and best selling novelist) Scott Turow, in which he seemed to suggest that to incentivize the next Shakespeare, the world needs much stronger copyright laws. The day after that op-ed was published, Turow was at the Senate speaking out in favor of censorship in the form of the COICA law. This is somewhat startling, and if you’re a member of the Authors Guild, you should be asking serious questions about an organization that supports censorship.

While many people pointed out the hilarious irony of Turow and his colleagues using Shakespeare as an example for stronger copyright laws — since the Bard lived in an era without any copyright laws, and was famous for directly copying the works of many others — some others noted a separate bit of irony. In taking to the pages of the NY Times to insist on the importance of copyright for authors, or warning that authors may not have incentives to write any more, some pointed out that the standard NY Times Op-Ed agreement involves handing over your copyright on the Op-Ed to the NY Times to do whatever it wants with it.

And, yet, this still seemed worth it to Mr. Turow. In other words, despite his explicit words talking up the importance of copyright as the key motivator for content creation, his implicit actions suggest he knows quite well that there are many, many other incentives to create, and many people — including himself — are willing to create even when they do not retain the copyright on their works. As the author of the above linked article, Wendy Kaminer, notes at the end of her piece:


When editors at the Times publish an op-ed stressing the cultural value of copyright protections, it’s probably not your copyrights they have in mind.

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Comments on “Did Scott Turow Keep The Copyright On His NY Times Op-Ed About The Importance Of Copyright?”

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58 Comments

Re: Re: Re: No, he didn't give up on copyright, he sold it. So it still gave him benefits and may have been an incentive to write.

http://forum.ragezone.com/f10/10-easy-steps-create-enemy-61268/

Cant wait for #6… oh wait. Check on #7 as well. #8 The diety is TD…. #9 duty bound are ya?

So that leaves #10 Ah yes… ya touched on that one too… not creating is somehow something to be feared.

@- & Lawrence Nice question though I think the wrong one & “may have” isn’t it either. Occums razor & human nature: Do you really need an incentive to create?

Not an electronic Rodentsays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: No, he didn't give up on copyright, he sold it. So it still gave him benefits and may have been an incentive to write.

http://forum.ragezone.com/f10/10-easy-steps-create-enemy-61268/

Never thought of it quite that way but those steps you could equally equate in hindsight to many things in the US recently: Website takedowns, bp oil spill, airport security, internet privacy, “cyber attacks”. In each case just pick your deity (usually money but possibly “the environment” in at least one case) and off you go. Same for the UK (“Obscene” publications, speeding and others) and probably most other governments and/or major corporations (is there a difference any more?)

Not an electronic Rodentsays:

Re: Re: Re: No, he didn't give up on copyright, he sold it. So it still gave him benefits and may have been an incentive to write.

Spoken like someone that’s never created anything.

Well I’ve created many things. It’s a large part of my job.

So what was Shakespeare?s incentive to write?

Did that sound different that time? Different enough to answer?

-says:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: No, he didn't give up on copyright, he sold it. So it still gave him benefits and may have been an incentive to write.

You’ve mistaken me for a copyright maximalist. I’m the opposite. But I think that the Mike’s post simply makes no sense.

Sorry, I confused 2 things in the above post. Please ignore (or delete) it.

Anonymoussays:

Re:

This is getting old.

Do you have anything useful to add? Anything at all? Anything that might make someone go like “uhm, that was interesting”?

And don’t come with “the kool-aid drinkers of this site will just put me down because they are a bunch of freetards” speech. Because, if this is a truly one-sided, terribly biased website you seem to believe it is, I really really don’t understand why you keep coming back.

I don’t want you to stop posting. I just want the baseless attacks to stop.

Richardsays:

Re:

Creator’s choice.

This is a concept lost on Mike Masnick.

Because he’s never created anything original.

Ah the old fallacy that “you have to be a rabbit to understand rabbits”.

Actually -to understand something properly then being to deeply involved in it is the last thing you want. It is perfectly reasonable – in fact preferable – to understand things from the outside.

The fact that you don’t understand this point suggests that you have never understood any subject properly.

(Note that my logic although superficially similar to yours – is in fact quite different and (unlike yours) valid.)

Jose_Xsays:

Re:

> Creator’s choice.

Do you mean to publish or not to publish? ..to share your thoughts or not to share them?

> This is a concept lost on Mike Masnick.

This website is proof he has decided to publish his commentary and analysis.

> Because he’s never created anything original.

That’s because Mike is not a human being. The Mike is an obelisk that is progressively teaching Anonymous monkeys how to beat the Turing test.

Jose_Xsays:

Re: Re:

> That’s because Mike is not a human being. The Mike is an obelisk that is progressively teaching Anonymous monkeys how to beat the Turing test.

We are all familiar with the Library of Babel?

See, Mike is a by-product of Anonymous monkeys.
He’s A Long serial bit stream touring complete round the world
Able to raise Cain among primates who can’t comprehend
Though a program, he’s teacher of the Turing test unfurled.

HAL? ..I know. It is a pity I come here to babel.

Gwizsays:

Re: Re: Re:

Yeah but no one’s interested in that enough to rip it off.

Why would someone rip off something that’s free to begin with?

As for the “no one’s interested” part – anytime I do a Google search on keywords like copyright or patents this site seems to always be in the Top 10, so it seems that quite a few are interested, despite you wishing otherwise.

Logical error

I kept thinking about this one and it started really bugging me.

A. The mother of all invention is NOT incentive.
B. Did history and technology switch Whats In It For Me from What Do I Need?

I suddenly smell the acrid of matches about to light my feet. So question, is the point here to find incentives or meet our needs? P.S. Happiness is a need.

Logical error

I kept thinking about this one and it started really bugging me.

A. The mother of all invention is NOT incentive.
B. Did history and technology switch Whats In It For Me from What Do I Need?

I suddenly smell the acrid of matches about to light my feet. So question, is the point here to find incentives or meet our needs? P.S. Happiness is a need.

Anonymoussays:

Re:

Question(s):

Isn’t copyright supposed to be an incentive for the creation of art? Therefore, if the copyright holder sells his copyright, isn’t he basically “giving up” on art (or that particular artistic expression)? Because he basically just gave away his “motivation”.

Also, does the buyer, who now holds copyright over a specific artistic expression, have any motivation for creating more art? If no, then, wouldn’t the model of “selling copyright” eventually extinguish every form of artistic expression?

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re:

Isn’t copyright supposed to be an incentive for the creation of art? Therefore, if the copyright holder sells his copyright, isn’t he basically “giving up” on art (or that particular artistic expression)? Because he basically just gave away his “motivation”.

Copyright allows people to make an income by selling their work. Selling your work to a publisher is nothing new. And you do need copyright to do it, or any publisher can run your story for free and it becomes much more unsellable for the writer.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re:

“Copyright allows people to make an income by selling their work.”

Right, but you don’t give away your rights in that case. What I was wondering was what happens to the artists supposed incentive when he just sells away what is, supposedly, his motivation to create more art?

“And you do need copyright to do it, or any publisher can run your story for free and it becomes much more unsellable for the writer.”

Why do I need copyright? I’ve seen many many cases of artists who make a decent living while giving away their art. They are just smart enough to understand how to make a profit from item that are somehow related to their art or to themselves. In the software world, that is an easy one: sell services. You can just give the software for free.

I think that artists could find similar methods of making money out of their art, without needing a special law that virtually guarantees them profit.

Anonymoussays:

What I am still trying to figure out is how Mike manages to divine someone’s intentions by their implicit actions only.

He is like a magic blog man thing.

The rest of us would get reamed in comments for something like that, the rest of you are climbing up Mike’s butt and enjoying the smell.

Perhaps this post is a parody, and or Mike is trying out new material for his stand up routine.

Anonymoussays:

Re:

This article really is a stretch. I picture Mike just sitting there on his computer, searching the internet for anything, ANYTHING, that can possibly be stretched to point out how dumb he thinks copyright is. It’s kind of funny when you picture it. Some of these articles are really, really desperate sounding.

This article is just silly because of course Turow knows that there are other reasons people write. It’s also silly because an op-ed piece is hardly the next War and Peace.

Bobsays:

Shakespeare is not the same at a torrent-loving couch potato

Shakespeare may have borrowed the plot lines but he wrote his own words. Really. In fact, it’s common for people to borrow plotlines today even in the face of copyright. If Shakespeare were writing today, I don’t think that copyright would have prevented him from borrowing some of the plots that he did.

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