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It seems like, hanging out around artists, talking copyright issues is kind of a bomb-throwing enterprise. Talking about abortion gets me into less trouble.

But I do like, and their "minute memes" videos they're doing.

A new one came out today, and it's just cool to watch: "All creative work builds on what came before."

Here's the previous one: "Copying is not theft."

These were done by Nina Paley, who of course also made Sita Sings the Blues. (Yup, a full feature-length movie, made mostly by one person, who put it right there on YouTube herself. Damn good movie, too.)

Obviously we need some way to pay artists, but some people (like the YouTube commenter about "never be another penny for R&D") need to remember that economic advantage isn't the only thing that motivates people. I mean, there are plenty of webcomics artists, to take an example, doing great work that they don't even break even at; while that's not a good situation, it suggests that artistic activity won't grind to a halt without profit. That's not even to mention the fan-creative community, who are prevented by copyright from making profit on their work (are indeed threatened with huge expenses for doing it), but who unstoppably soldier on with it anyway. As for R&D, people want to cure diseases and make new inventions not only for money, but also because it would help people or be an awesome thing, and those considerations balance differently for different people. Indeed profit drive can in some cases be a perverse incentive; when the goal is to sell something new and make money rather than provide a new and greater benefit, how little innovation (ie, work and risk) can one get away with in order to reap the profit? (Drug patents and software versions are some egregious examples of this.) Again, not that these people shouldn't profit for their work and discoveries, but balancing incentive and access for the greatest good is far more complicated than "intellectual property for the win".


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