It never fails. I come up with a cool idea for a website – one I know others will agree with me is cool – and just to be sure I do a google search, and yeah. It’s already being done.
1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
2 And the earth was without pie, and void; and “cream” filling was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the twinkies.
3 And God said, Let there be pie: and there was pie.
4 And God saw the pie, that it was cherry: and God divided the fruit from the non-fruit.
Current text from chapter 1 of the WikiBible as of today at this minute.
Wow, a copy of the bible I might actually read!
It’s only the first chapter, apparently.
Still, it’s a start.
I used to have Chapter One in the SuperProgrammers Version — from some old source like Dr. Dobbs Journal, or some other old computer magainze, like Byte. I may have it in archive someplace, in one of my several desks. If anyone is interested in it, I could post it here, in probable violation of its copyright, I suppose.
I hate the extended warranty period we give copyrights these days — expecially for anything relating to a magazine or a tv show — of all things. But, then, I see that you can buy the “I Love Lucy” seasons (or many other of these highly disposable tv productions) on a disk, and I am simpy awed at the apparent profound lack of taste in the American public. But, why further support the perpetuation and the institutionalization of trash in a culture, by extending the copyright periods, I ask?
The idea behind copyright is a simple one: the creator of some work has a right to profit, to some extent, from his labors, by receiving payments for each copy marketed. Broadcast media, though, make the idea of “copy” almost oxymoronic, in my opinion. The media makes it money, to pay the creator and the actors (and sundry others), from selling commercial space, as an adjunct to the broadcast item. Hence, granting broadcasters any copyright at all, as a matter of fair and just economic protection, is simply and absolutely wrong — a case of unjust enrichment, unjust entitlements, granted out of the public realm to the broadcasters. What is said of broadcast media applies equally to magazines and newspapers, and similar time-based consumption items, where contemporary advertising (and circulation sales revenues) either support the present publication, or else there is no publication, present or future!
A copyright, I argue, ought to expire in quite small, quite modest number of years — say 11 or 17 years. It should not ordinarily be renewable. The reason for the small period is to remember who is to be incentivized: namely, a living, breathing creator. Longer copyright periods not only discourage creators from continuing to create (the discouragement is implied by incentive theory), but also — and perhaps more importantly — depresses demand for new creations, forcing new creations to compete with well-entrenched “well-established crowd favorites” in the present market. Hence, publishers and broadcasters demand far fewer new works, than they would, but for the manipulative use and abuse of government regulations (ie, the copyright period).
You want to live in a world where creation is strongly encouraged, where progress is the norm of the day, where life materially improves, before your very eyes and in your own days? Then, support the reduction of copyright periods, as the most urgent need of the society.
(And, to tie this segue back into its starting theme, none of this will make any difference to conservatives — they spend a lifetime reading and rereading the same old Biblical text — and, at the end of their days, they are no wiser than they were when they were yet children. “Yea, verily, I say unto ye, they have their rewards…” and yet copyrights hardly mattered there! Some people are bound and determined, personally, to prove that there is no valid theory of evolution, by showing themselves as examples to its contrary!)
The fact that somebody else had the same cool idea you did doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go ahead with your idea. Think of it as validation that “Hey, someone else thinks this is cool too!” And then go and run with the idea and do it better!
And this is one of those areas where I actually get to speak from experience! Eight years ago, I started compiling a list of Science Fiction conventions. About a year later, I started publishing it on the web. At about the same time, I discovered that there were several other lists already in existence. One of them, Conventions by Jenga was so well known that almost every convention then on the web linked to it.
I went ahead and published my list anyhow, and nowdays, Fanboy’s Convention List tends to be in the top 3 or 4 search results for variations on “convention list.”
Don’t give up an idea just because somebody else came up with it too. Who knows? Maybe yours will be the one that stands the test of time.