I don’t know how many of you are aware of the explosion of copyright discussion surrounding Emily the Strange and Nate the Great (and the alleged intersections between the two). I read probably more than my share of comics news, and most of it entirely passed me by.
At issue, does this character:
equal this character:
(The one in the top right corner).
It’s an interesting case if you’re interested in copyright, copyleft, creativity and the like – Shaun outlines a lot of the salient points here – both about the situation itself, and about the discussion of the situation.
Because there’s a picture going around that looks like this –
He argues, really well, that to focus on that physical similarity is to miss the point, or what should be the point:
However unoriginal her figure maybe, Emily is not a direct copy of Rosamond. She is an adaptation. Most importantly, the two characters exist in entirely different contexts. The fact that Rosamond is a supporting character in someone else’s narrative while Emily is at the center of her own storyworld, is, or should be, the most salient point in this discussion
Copyright should afford people, and notably the actual creators of a work, protection against actual plagiarism, or at least a right to proper attribution, but that is a far distance from being able to lock up all references to, pieces of, or derivations of a work, especially in, or something very much approaching, perpetuity. The fact that creators and other copyright owners feel compelled, and empowered, to assert such rights is a threat to continued creativity.
Lots to think about.