04 October 2007

"Keats and Shelley’s contemporaries might have called them “star-fornicators” instead of the cruder expression we use today,"

Blogpost composed a few miles above the Protestant Cemetery behind the Pyramid Cestius on revisiting the internet cafe during a tour, October 3, 2007.

Or something like that, Ken Jennings makes an observation about the cult of fame, of course that other Ken (Russell) kind of beat him to the punch a few decades earlier with his film, LISZTOMANIA (which for some unknown and probably really dumb reason still hasn't been released on DVD) but it's still an apt observation, and many folks do suggest that the cult of the international superstar began in the early romantic period, Shelley and Byron fit the bill. Keats was the first James Dean. He was the first posthomous superstar whose supporters puffed up after his death, and even suggested his death was a result of the criticism he received while alive. Live fast, die young wasn't invented in the 1960s (can't add the 'pretty corpse' part, drowning, battlefield wounds, and TB don't tend to leave pretty corpses)

(and was my Wordsworth reference oblique enough?, or too obvious?)

And speaking of copyright issues (what we weren't?), I agree with Prof. Glenn Reynolds (at least I think I agree, he doesn't actually state his advocacy), in a post lamenting the high cost of picking up the DVD for Last Days of Disco (probably Whit Stillman's least good film, but his least good film is better than 95% of films out there) that cases like that (and the unavailability of Lisztomania) are good arguments for compulsory licensing.

License holders shouldn't be able to hold content hostage, if there are those willing to produce a product, and those willing to buy a product, then the license holder shouldn't be able to withhold a particular piece of IP off the market indefinitely (so long as the folks who are producing are willing and able to cough up reasonable license fees and royalties). From video games designed for bygone game systems, to books with a small but loyal following, to films that have missed out on the DVD era because of gaggles of lawyers, intellectual property should be handled in a way that still respects the rights of the license holder, but those rights should come with a little responsibility, too.

IP copyright shouldn't be extendable ad infinitum, either, the public domain is essentially dead, the only time anything produced since the 1940s slips into the public domain, it's because some lawyer really screwed up, that's not the spirit of the original copyright laws, and this subversion helped birth a culture where IP theft seems like a morally defensible act for many consumers.

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