The Zen (or Feng Shui) of Copyright

24 July 2009 at 1:35 pm 1 comment

| Dick Langlois |

Peter blogged some time ago about intellectual property rights in comedy. Turnabout is fair play; and here, in a kind of post-modernist twist, is a comedic take on intellectual property rights — from the Onion.

Intellectual Property Rights as Fleeting as the Scent of Jasmine, Mayfly’s Wing

BEIJING — Settling not on the industrious sons of China, nor on their ware-covered blankets, ownership rights of intellectual property fluttered silently by, unseen, on Monday, as does the gentle mayfly on a warm harvest-time breeze. “Is this a pirated DVD of Transformers 2 dreaming it is an original? Or is it an original Transformers 2 dreaming of an adventurous life as a pirate?” a sidewalk merchant in Tiananmen Square whispered to a moment already gone, as his hands clutched some worldly illusion of the Michael Bay film. “Eight dollars. Plays anywhere in the world.” In their great wisdom, the merchants also carried forth the ancient teachings of Zhuangzi — who spoke of how time is a riddle answered by eternity — to the equally fleeting earthly conceits of trademarked wristwatches, electronics, clothing items, Starbucks, and automobiles.

The piece is part of a new online issue whose conceit is that the Onion has been sold to Chinese interests. It’s quite good — the Onion is at its best when it has an overarching theme, as in the Our Dumb Century book. Of course, one of the multiple layers of meaning in the joke may have to do with the fact that the real magazine actually is apparently up for sale.

Entry filed under: - Langlois -, Entrepreneurship, Ephemera.

More on Wall Street Thanks to Guest Blogger Benito Arruñada

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Jane Memo  |  25 July 2009 at 3:58 pm

    If the emergent institutions and norms aren’t enough, then maybe they can use an army of lawyers to protect their punch lines. After all, it seems language is trademarkable nowadays:

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