Category Archives: “Uncreative Writing”

Blogging with Jcook Post #8

For the sake of this class and all college  students across the world, I am going to say creativity/originality is the best way to determine claims to copyrights.  Now before anyone attempt to Spartacus kick me let me explain myself. What if you were assigned to work in a group project with some of the worse people you could imagine? No one is willing to pull their part and they leave you to do all the work. You know this is a very important project because judges from different school districts will be grading your work.  You email your professor and express your grievances and y'all both decide it would be best to change your group. However, the only problem is you have been sharing files with your old group so they have some of your materials. You do not think anything of it so you use the same ideas you came up with in your new group. One the day of the convention your old group goes before and they are using all your ideas. You become outraged because now your new group is at jeopardy of failing and potentially because eliminated because your ideas was used by someone else. By now its too late to explain that those were your ideas and they had used them without your permission. Your group presents and gets eliminated. Your professor pulls you to the side and say that you use someone else's idea and made your school look bad so their will be consequences.  Of course, you intend on telling her that those were your original thoughts but because they did not use your exact words who should be punished? In my opinion the old group should be punished! Right now in my English 1102 class we have been assigned to do a annotated bibliography and research paper. One of our requirements is to cite our sources. If we did our entire paper without citing our sources we would receive a ZERO! Is it possible to do your entire paper without citing source? Yes it is. But I am sure no one in my class is a expert at anything because we do not have a college degree so the information we gather is from someone else thoughts. A crazy thing I brought to my professor attention is because our work had to be published on storify is our projects protected? Should a high schooler cite our project if they find it on the web? Or should they be able to pass our hard work as theirs? Should we even care since they are not making any money from it? I started to wonder how would we know if they are getting paid for it? What if they use some of our thoughts for a essay for a scholarship and win? Are we entitled to half of the scholarship? Copyrighting is a touchy subject and no one is ever certain. That is why no two copyrighting court cases are the same. Me personally, I would want my intro, summarization, results, and conclusion protected by copyrights.

Blog Post 8: Creative vs Original

In terms of the creativity/ originality requirment, I think that two works or subjects can be claimed to be relatively original as long as they posses a certain amount of differences. They can be very similar but as long as it's clear that the works are different then I feel that both can be called original.  As for my work in the class, I feel that isn't copyrightable. I'm just writing  down facts that I learned from my sources; my own conjecture doesn't change these facts and what these sources that I'm using are. I suppose if some part of my work were to be copyrighted it would be my own position that none of my sources really take because they were all created seperatly. My sources are about technology in astronomy. Some sources are about the pros of technology and some about the cons of it. None of my sources take my position that technology is largely positive but has it's drawbacks; that's the part I feel would be copyrighted. If someone just blatantly copied and pasted my work, I gotta say I would be pretty upset but I think I would get over it.


OK, now that the prompt questions are out of the way I want to get back to the idea of Creative vs Original. As an avid comic book fan, this sort of issue comes up when discussing certain characters and whether one company just ripped off the other's character. One of my favorite examples involves one of my favorite comic book characters: DEATHSTROKE!

DC's character Deathstroke is a mercenary named Slade WIlson who wears a sort of ninja mask, uses sords and guns, and is super-human. Marvel then created what is now one of their most popular characters; Deadpool. Deadpool is a mercenary named Wade Wilson who wears a sort of ninja mask, uses swords and guns, and is super-human. Based on the name alone, it's clear that Deadpool is based on Deathstroke, but between them they also share more than a few differences such as personalities and family relationships, and having more than one eye. The question is, is an unoriginal character unable to be a creative character? Speaking on the characters' differences, I personallysay no. The lesson in all this is that there's nothing new under the sun.

#8 Should this very post be protected?

Copy right symbol
I’m going to focus on our personal works such as, the annotated bibliographies that we finished a few weeks ago. The concept of our annotated bibliographies, were to discuss and report the analyses made on our sources. Majority of the summaries were opinion based, and reflected what we thought a certain source accomplished or did not accomplish. I’m sure no one took a paragraph from their source and copied it word for word used that as their summary. Because majority of the summaries were opinion based and our own thoughts, these annotated bibliographies cannot be accused of or characterized as improper use of copy written works.

Now it would be a different situation if we, the authors of the annotated bibliographies, were trying to protect our summaries under the copyright law. It would be pointless but then again, it’s up to the author. Also, because they are referencing additional works not done by them in their summaries, they would have to take the necessary procedures to give those authors their credit. The process is too time consuming. Especially with the possibility that your work will never be seen. The only place that I could see where the copyright protection could possibly come into hand is during the actual research paper, like final draft and all. However, your research paper would have to make a new claim that no one has really touched on. The research and the finding are not all going to be original, but they are exceedingly close.

Reference: STANDS4 LLC, 2015. Web. 30 Mar. 2015. <>.

The Complexity of Creativity and Originality #8

In all honesty, what does it truly mean to be creative? Original? What qualifies something as to not being creative? What about original?

In my opinion there is no such thing as an uncreative work no matter if it seems to already have been done in a similar style or with similar content, whether it be the same content or different kinds mediums all things vary with at least one particular element. In order to further expand on this I would first how to define the three main words of concern. The first word is originality using the Oxford dictionary definition originality is the ability to think independently and creatively. Because thing are influenced by those that came before them, and will influence the content and mediums of expression that will come after them (that is after their creation). As goldsmith says all new works are built based on previous works that themselves were built on works that existed before them.

Is it not also a form of creativity to synthesize information in a fashion that has not been done before or with content that has not been previously provided. I think that I person should be able to lay claim to the medium of expression they produced even if it is considered to be uncreative or unoriginal. In modern times, it is hard to believe that there is such a thing as originality as ideas are repeated recycled and influenced by preexisting ideas. After there is the idea behind a creation, there is the way of expression, the medium. Some mediums of expression stay the same while others change and evolve as the technology and innovations around it change.

Defining Creativity

Who decides what is creative work or not? If I created it, then is it not creative? The copy right laws do not seem fair to those who worked hard on their creations, regardless of what its used for. A phone pages book, for example, is a work intended for the public use, people are supposed to use it for their benefit. However, it is not necessary for you to cite something from the phone book. This post that I am making now, is it not considered "creative"? I did create it after all.  Yet, it would not be considered "creative" for copy right purposes.

A work must be considered "creative" and "original" for it to be copyrightable. However, these two cannot be considered synonymous. If I were to create a song, it would be considered both creative and original, but if someone who like my song used a similar beat or words, would that not be considered a creative and original work as well? It is after all this persons own work, even though he got the idea from my work.

My question is why does someone else have the right to decide if my work is creative enough to be protected by law? If I create a work, then should I not have the right to have that work protected, regardless of what it is?


Blog Post #8: “Uncreative Writing”

As we have read in Bound By Law, the U.S. Copyright Act only protects expression that is "original," that is expression that exhibits at least some minimal amount of "creative" content contributed by the author or creator. Thus, the Copyright Act arguably rewards--in order to encourage--creativity. It does not reward "sweat of the brow" labor that might go into authoring an "uncreative" work (like a white pages phone directory, for example), no matter how useful the thing that results from such labor might be. Uncreative works do not receive any copyright protection at all in the U.S. Yet, what does it mean for a work to be "creative"? And why shouldn't authors and creators be rewarded for their hard work, as well as their creativity?

 As opposed to Pound, there is no attempt to blend the shards into a whole; instead there is an accumulation of language, most of it not belonging to Benjamin. Instead of admiring the author’s synthetic skills, we are made to think about the exquisite quality of Benjamin’s choices, his taste. It’s what he selects to copy that makes this work successful. Benjamin’s insistent use of fragmentary wholes does not make the text the final destination, rather, like Duchamp, we are thrown away from the object by the power of the mirror.
"As opposed to Pound, there is no attempt to blend the shards into a whole; instead there is an accumulation of language, most of it not belonging to Benjamin. Instead of admiring the
author’s synthetic skills, we are made to think about the exquisite quality of Benjamin’s choices, his taste. It’s what he selects to copy that makes this work successful. Benjamin’s insistent use of fragmentary wholes does not make the text the final destination, rather, like Duchamp, we are thrown away from the object by the power of the mirror."

In his essay "Uncreative Writing: Managing Language in the Digital Age," Kenneth Goldsmith argues "the digital environment has completely changed the literary playing field, in terms of both content and authorship. In a time when the amount of language is rising exponentially, combined with greater access to the tools with which to manage, manipulate, and massage those words, appropriation is bound to become just another tool in the writers’ toolbox, an acceptable—and accepted—way of constructing a work of literature, even for more traditionally oriented writers." In making his argument for the value, and even the necessity of appropriation or copying the work of others as a composition strategy, Goldsmith begins with a series of thought-provoking questions about the nature of authorship and who owns cultural production like literature, art, and even scholarship:

Isn’t all cultural material shared, with new works built upon preexisting ones, whether acknowledged or not? Haven’t writers been appropriating from time eternal? What about those well-digested strategies of collage and pastiche? Hasn’t it all been done before? And, if so, is it necessary to do it again? What is the difference between appropriation and collage?

Referencing the work of well-known literary figures, such as Walter Benjamin and Ezra Pound, as well as visual artists, such as Pablo Picasso and Marcel Duchamp, Goldsmith calls into question some of the fundamental assumptions or values informing the Copyright Act and more than 200 years of copyright law interpretation in court cases and government regulation.

"The assemblage and collage quality of The Cantos stitches together thousands of lines, drawn from a number other sources, literary and nonliterary, all held in place with the glue of Pound’s own language to create a unified whole. Like a gleaner of history, he collects heaps of ephemera from the ages and sorts through it looking for the gems out of which he will construct his epic; sound, sight, and meaning coalesce, frozen in shimmering verse. Everything seems to have come from somewhere else, but it has been chosen with distinctive and carefully cultivated taste; his genius is in synthesizing found material into a cohesive whole."

Goldsmith is just one of a growing number of scholars, lawyers, and creators who have begun to question these values and assumptions. Further, though courts sometimes use them interchangeably, "creative" and "original" are not necessarily synonyms when one is discussing copyright. Creative work can theoretically be unoriginal. So for example, if someone who has never read or heard of the Twilight novels managed independently to reproduce them word-for-word, that someone could not be held liable for copyright infringement. Independent creation is not copying, and where copying hasn't occurred, neither has copyright infringement.

Image of "Still Life With Chair Caning" by Pablo Picasso
" Like a candle, Still Life with Chair Caning is a picture that draws you into its composition; clearly, you could spend a lot of time absorbed in this picture and basking in its warm glow."

And, expression that is "creative" but not "original" is not copyrightable. So, with regard to our hypothetical author who unwittingly reproduced the Twilight novels, he might not be guilty of copyright infringement, but he might encounter difficulty claiming copyright ownership in his work. To extend the hypothetical just a bit further, what would happen if another equally clueless would-be author plagiarized him, but could prove she herself never had access to Stephenie Meyer's work? Would she be guilty of copyright infringement? Perhaps not.

"Unlike Picasso’s constructive method, Duchamp didn’t use collage to create a harmonious, compelling composition, rather he eschewed “the retinal” qualities to create an object that doesn’t require a viewership as much as it does a thinkership; no one has ever stood wide-eyed before Duchamp’s urinal admiring the quality and application of the glaze. Instead, Duchamp invokes the mirror, creating a repellent and reflective object, one that forces us to turn away in other directions."
"Unlike Picasso’s constructive method, Duchamp didn’t use collage to create a harmonious,
compelling composition, rather he eschewed “the retinal” qualities to create
an object that doesn’t require a viewership as much as it does a thinkership; no one has ever stood wide-eyed before Duchamp’s urinal admiring the quality and application of the glaze. Instead, Duchamp invokes the mirror, creating a repellent and reflective object, one that forces us to turn away in other directions."

What do you think about the creativity/originality requirement? Is it the best way to determine who gets to claim a copyright and what that copyright covers? Can you think of a better system? And what about the work you've been doing in this class, in the annotated bibliography and the literature review? Arguably, the work you're doing is largely equivalent to a collage or pastiche comprising the work of other authors.  Should your work on these projects be protected by copyright? What part of it would be copyrightable? How would you feel if someone copied your work and claimed it was his or her own?

Posting: Group 1

Commenting: Group 2

Taking a Break: Group 3

Category: "Uncreative Writing"

Read the linked essay from Goldsmith, and take some time to do some research of your own on the web. Then, in your Blog #8 post, take a position that attempts to answer at least three of the questions presented in this prompt. Remember, rather than simply answering a series of questions in order, use the questions as a starting point for constructing a brief essay organized around your own thesis about copyright infringement, originality and creativity, and how copyright rewards some forms of labor but not others. Please carefully read and follow the guidelines and posting information for this blog.

Image Credit: "copy culture" by Will Lion on Flickr.