What I like about this is that it straddles both my impulse that ideas are not commodities and that everything I create is built upon the shoulders of those who came before. Or as I like to say “Ideas are cheap”. But on the other hand, if you figure out that you can make money from my creations then there is a basis in fairness that I get some of the benefit of it. Schizophrenic, I know, but it captures it nicely.
A fascinating although quite long article by Michael Lewis in Vanity Fair. Michael Lewis is an amazing non-fiction writer, best known to me for Moneyball (about baseball) and Liars Poker (about Wall Street.)
A month after ace programmer Sergey Aleynikov left Goldman Sachs, he was arrested. Exactly what he’d done neither the F.B.I., which interrogated him, nor the jury, which convicted him a year later, seemed to understand. But Goldman had accused him of stealing computer code, and the 41-year-old father of three was sentenced to eight years in federal prison. Investigating Aleynikov’s case, Michael Lewis holds a second trial.
“In Posner’s view, many patents are unnecessary. Patents, he believes, are important for drug companies that spend hundreds of millions of dollars bringing a new drug to market — a drug that can easily be copied by a competitor. Without the protection that a patent affords, pharmaceutical companies would have far less incentive to come up with new drugs.” (from New York Times)
But you can see another copy of the same sculpture in New York City. I saw it just a few days ago:
Actually I didn’t take that picture, because if you see it on foot, there is always a line of kids waiting to pose for pictures with it.
Anyway, you can see that my idea for a T-Shirt design was clever but hardly original. I admit to having some guilt about appropriating the design, but also I have been keenly attuned to see who else and where else folks might have borrowed the design.
In Chicago, I saw this:
On TV I saw this:
In a promotional email from the Institute of Contemporary art I saw this:
So, what do you say? How badly did I infringe the copyright of Robert Indiana? Will I be asked to take it down (and destroy the 16 one-of-a-kind t-shirts.) And will I win the case in court, because, “everyone else is copying it”?