Hurray for copying 1: Myron's Discus-Thrower


21 Responses to “Hurray for copying 1: Myron's Discus-Thrower”

  1. Church says:

    double_tilly, if you’re not deprived of something it isn’t theft. If I light my candle off of yours, what have you lost?

  2. Daemon says:

    The people who most say they want originality generally hate it when they encounter it. What they really want is a slightly novel form of the same old stuff they’ve always had.

    Also, people generally seem to fall back on “it’s not original!” as a complaint only when they don’t like something, and can’t come up with anything better to justify their dislike to people who do like it.

    • sillygolem says:

      I guess when laserdiscs come up in conversation I can describe them as being “discus size.”

    • Andrea James says:

      Interesting factoid: that laserdisc image is modeled after the Townley Diskobolos, a marble replica that was restored in Italy but “with an alien head set at the wrong angle.” Oopsie. Like the laserdisc, it is now relegated to being a oft-mocked curiosity.

  3. LogJam says:

    Back in the olden days, making a good copy took as much or more skill than creating the original did. Now anyone can make 10,000 copies of anything with little money and less skill. Perhaps that has something to do with it.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Really those descriptions are all we have to go by. If you compare the numerous surviving copies of this statue you see that each has significant difference, each reproduction was intentionally altered by the copiest, most likely each trying to improve on the former and give it their own personal touch. These reproductions are not that impressive, or at least not nearly as impressive as the original was to the old scholars. It is kind of like the Alvin Lucier idea of the photocopier effect.

  5. robcat2075 says:

    Am I bad for giving the Romans more points for painstakingly copying Greek masterpieces than I give to the guy who thinks he’s a ragin’ copyright warrior because he posted an album he ripped from a CD onto a file sharing site?

    • Church says:

      “Am I bad for giving the Romans more points for painstakingly copying Greek masterpieces than I give to the guy who thinks he’s a ragin’ copyright warrior because he posted an album he ripped from a CD onto a file sharing site?”

      What’s the difference? Aside from the tools.

      • Anonymous says:

        One is an act of creation, one is not. There is a world of a difference between looking at a Van Gogh and painting a replica and slapping it into a photo copy machine. There is neither creativity nor creation in the later.

    • Andrea James says:

      @robcat2075, I give ‘em more points, too. Way more.

  6. double_tilly says:

    In Praise of Copying, by Marcus Boon. Looks quite excellent. Heavy on theory, I’m guessing. Involves something about Buddhist ideas of interdependence.

    Perhaps discussions of how current copyright policy is based upon mythological notions of individuality and creativity. Who knows.

    I wonder if Andrea James is planning on continuing this series of posts? I hope so.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Thank Zeus that people like Leonardo da Vinci, Vincent van Gogh and many others were willing to devote their lives to making actual connections with the Muses–willing to be original, daring to experiment, suffering necessary losses, and, sometimes, achieving an amazing work like Mona Lisa or Starry Night. We know who they were because they were not the typical bogus dabblers who have the nuts to call themselves artists. To build on the breakthroughs of other artists is legitimate (that’s the way art evolves) but to carbon-copy another artist’s work or steal it in the name of liberation from the evils of copyright law, is not art–it’s a crime against art, a crime against civilization, a crime against humanity. That’s why good colleges banish students who plagiarize. Dare to be original.

    • Anonymous says:

      Good colleges banish students who copy without giving credit, because they’re trying to produce original things. Good archives copy as much as they can. The very simple truth is the world needs both.

    • double_tilly says:

      Robcat and Anon, you lambast the person who steals in the name of being a copyright warrior. But do you think there is room in the conversation for other reasons a person might steal?

      A monetarily bankrupt man might steal to feed himself. An emotionally bankrupt man might steal to feel something of the spirit of another. To liberate himself from alienation.

      Isn’t that part of the reason people steal?

  8. benher says:

    …so 2000 years from now the new species on this planet will know what iPhones looked like based on copies from the People’s Republic!

  9. ymr049c says:

    The high regard for originality and having ‘the original’ probably correlates with the development of technology for reproduction and eventually mass production of a work. On top of which there is serious money in intellectual property, which there was not throughout most of human history.

    So certainly we could use some sanity and rethinking of IP in the face of the digital, networked era we’re in. But the relative value of originality is probably not going away. Just look at the BoingBoing story this week about an artist’s rules for succeeding under the current dynamic (
    Rule no. 1, “Be original. I aim to make art so original that no one will question who made it.”

  10. Church says:

    Meh. That’s like saying photography isn’t art because you’re just copying what’s there.

  11. Godfree says:

    Wow, I thought someone would have mentioned Nina Paley by now. I like her take on the subject:

  12. Anonymous says:

    Well because imitation was still a laborious and difficult process back then.
    To carve a copy of something would require most of the skills employed by the original master himself. Technical prowess was involved and a understanding of the craft.
    There was no ctrl + C then ctrl +V.

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