Saturday, July 17, 2004

Copyright in the movies

I saw "About a Boy" and "Uptown Girls" when they were in theaters. The main character in each has something in common: they're both living off the proceeds of copyrights held by their deceased parents. There are two ways to look at the situation.
  1. People living off their parents' works are leaches on our society.
  2. It's so cool that we have the opportunity to live comfortably from our parents' efforts.
That's simplified, and it may be clear that I favor the "leach" interpretation.

When I saw these movies I didn't even think of the latter interpretation, and I wondered to myself if someone were trying to show what's wrong with copyright. Later I realize that many viewers could have looked at those characters as some kind of American dream. I want to be a copyright leach too, the thinking goes. After all, these characters are protagonists; we're supposed to like them.

Maybe this is Hollywood propaganda, but I doubt it. In poking around about these movies, I saw reviewers compare one to the other, as if the second were a gender changed version of the first. Perhaps a lazy writer couldn't be bothered to come up with a different zero-effort income source. And I doubt most people noticed the whole copyright issue; it's not exactly a hot topic on the minds of moviegoers.
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