Copy Fights: The Future of Intellectual Property in the Information Age

By Adam Thierer; Wayne Crews | Go to book overview

1
Indelicate Imbalancing in Copyright
and Patent Law
Tom W. Bell

When we were kids, my brother and I quarreled at length about the color of the world. Our intractable dispute arose because my brother, David, favored blue, whereas I favored green. As proof that he had chosen the superior of the two colors, my brother claimed that the world had more blue in it. Being some four years younger and correspondingly smaller, I could not resort to David's favorite rhetorical device (the argument from pummeling). I instead had to rely on my half-pint wits. To his claim on behalf of the color blue, I thus replied: “Does not!”

“Does too!” came David's retort. “The sky is blue and so is the ocean.”

“The sky isn't blue when it rains or at night,” I parried, “and the ocean isn't blue—it's green. And the grass is green. And the trees are green, too.”

You can well imagine where our colloquium on the world's color went from there: whether the sky was blue, black, or even (as I averred) deep purple at night; how to reckon the color of the sky above the clouds and, relatedly, how many airline passengers get window seats; which of us had better claim to the Red and Yellow Seas; whether the “Sea of Green” the Beatles sang of really existed; “does not”; “does too”; and so forth.

I relate this tale for two reasons. First, I want to publicly concede that my brother almost certainly had the better of our factual dispute. As a five-year-old in rural Virginia, I perhaps had good reason to think that the world sports predominately green hues. I've since learned, however, that we call Earth “the Blue Planet” for good reason. (It bears noting, though, that scientists recently discovered that “the current color of the universe is a sprightly green.”) 1

Secondly, and more important, that childhood argument over color illustrates an important aspect of contemporary arguments

-1-

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