Clarifying thought

Not related to anything current, just a clarifying thought, a new angle on a familiar subject.

One of my Thiel Questions is:

If you want to leave a legacy, don’t copyright your work.

This runs counter to everything you normally read about copyright.


Everything you normally read is based on the faulty assumption that copyright law is meant to benefit authors and artists. This was NEVER true, and the newer Disney and Digital versions of copyright make it even less true.

Copyright was always meant to benefit the PUBLISHER. The weird Disney concept of intrinsic copyright gives even more advantage to the publisher with the biggest lawyer army.

If you are working for a publisher, or contracting for a publisher, you already know that the publisher owns all the rights, and this is comforting. You don’t need to muster your own lawyer army.

If you are independent, you need to give up the fake notion that copyright protects your work from theft. It doesn’t protect you unless you can afford more lawyers than the thief. Since most of the thieves are big corporations with lawyer armies, you’re sunk.

For an independent, the best option is to explicitly refuse copyright. You can still make money from your work, especially if it’s physical arts and crafts. You wouldn’t make MORE money with the intrinsic copyright. Worst of all, the intrinsic copyright can be bought by a corporation in order to delete the creation. Even if not intentional, the purchaser can go bankrupt or stop publishing, and then the property is no longer published or usable.

= = = = =

This thought was triggered by Substack’s description of a new in-betweenish relationship. Substack is obviously the publisher who benefits from publishing your work. They also promise that they will not permanently retain the rights if you choose to leave. I don’t know how this will translate into actual contract verbiage, but it’s an important departure from current practice.

%d bloggers like this: