Stealing from Matt

Matt Staggs over at Enter the Octopus posted this today.  He calls it his stupid question of the day, and it seemed so much fun to me that, in the spirit of his question, I just had to steal it from him.

Here it is…

Stupid question for today: is memorizing a piece of literature piracy?

18 07 2008

I have a pretty liberal take on copyright laws, and sometimes it seems to me that trying to enforce many of them in the age of the internet is like trying to plug a hole in the Hoover Dam with chewing gum, in my opinion. There are just too many people out there with too many ways of sharing information now, and the market is going to change. The cat is already out of the bag.

Along these lines, I have a stupid hypothetical question. Knowing that unlawfully copying another’s work is technically illegal, my question to you is this: is memorizing a work of literature technically piracy?

I memorized a handful of poems by Edgar Allen Poe when I was a kid, and if pressed I could probably recite several of them even now. Maybe you did something similar.You’ve reproduced it, stored it in that big squishy flash drive between your ears. And now you can spread it to other people, simply by recalling it for recitation.

So are you we pirates, technically?

What about music? If you get a song stuck in your head do you owe the RIAA royalty fees?

Maybe one day the corporations will invent some sort of mechanism through which our memories will come encoded like pay-per-view. What do you think?

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