Saturday, April 04, 2009

Language belongs to everybody, because it can't exist without everybody's input to it. Therefore, it can never be copyrighted. (Which is good) But the works created in this language can and do get copyrighted. Where is the line that distinguishes between part of the language and a creative work? Is an aphorism produced by a person copyrighted? Will it no longer be copyrighted if everybody starts using it on regular basis, and just become part of the language? (Which is actually true). How about longer pieces of work? If anybody would now create a work which is a spinoff from a Shakespeare tragedy would he or she have to pay money to Shakespeare's heirs? (Apparently not). And if this will be a spinoff from a Harry Potter book? (You know the answer). It's only an arbitrary law which distinguishes these two situations from one another, which tells that you have to wait a given number of years after the author dies to be able to freely play with his/her ideas; doesn't it actually hinder creative process?..

Back to the topic: I wonder whether one day the right to learn a language would not be considered one of the basic human rights. I also wonder whether the same would be applicable to translations, and if true, what will happen to all those companies which are producing language courses, dictionaries and the like. Will they become fed from the public money? (If there will still be money at that point in time...)

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