day 6

Some Lessons from
McLeod, Chapter 3
Copyright, Authorship, and
African-American Culture
The nature of Intellectual property rights
• Copyright follows from printing, typography,
psychology of the individual, capitalism, and property
ownership by establishing plagiarism in the context
of intertextuality.
• The notion of Intellectual Property, as we construe it,
– does not follow the European philosophy of natural rights.
– has been created as an analog of physical property.
ML King “copied” and
it’s not at all remarkable
• The life and works of an African-American
preacher, for example, are intertextual to the
• It’s probably also true for non-AA Christian
preachers too, though not covered here.
First, we digress:
the roots for, and branches of rap and “hip-hop”
are to be found in DISCO. Disco should respected
not derided.
• Ed may own the most complete collection of disco music
from 1978-79 of any living human.
– He met the future Mrs. Lamoureux in the
disco/bar/restaurant at which he was the lead
• Don’t let anyone who likes modern music tell you that
“disco” sucks. No disco, no rap or hip-hop.
• Most of the copyright issues that face the music industry
today, go back into the late 70s and disco.
Rap/hip hop and sampling
• Rap/Hip hop could/would not have happened and therefore would not
exist under the current intellectual property regime. This illustrates how
our system STIFLES creativity
• Enforcement follows the money. It’s seldom got much if anything to do
with protecting the intellectual property rights of innovators/creators per
• One can sample legally, by licensing. But the costs and thereby the
investment risks are very high, so going “legit” compromises both
opportunity and innovation.
• As noted in Good Copy/Bad Copy , the rest of the world often doesn’t play
by the same rules, which, in effect, is bad for the US both competitively
(economically) AND creatively.
• As illustrated by both films (and many other places), there’s significant
(philosophic) question as to whether our regime fosters or blocks
innovation and whether it fulfills (or overreaches) the intent of the
founders AND as to whether or not the global nature of the internet (and
of contemporary economies) will just overturn our regime.
• But of course, in the face of that, we get ACTA and similar control efforts.