Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Speculative fiction chatter

A couple of years ago, I followed a chatter stream on the ethics of parallel Earth plagiarism.  As in, a world next door where their history has been rattled enough that many Names are not the same.  Given that situation, how much of a rat would a person be to copy the Great Works of Creativity here and flog them over there?  Or vice versa?

The ethics, morality and legality of all that is interesting, but it triggered some thinking of an attendant nature:  would flogging these works even be possible?  

The more I think on it, the more I marvel at how particular the consumer field really is for any crops to grow.  First off, there are the blatant shifts and tastes.  There I go, loaded down with, say, the entire Beatles sheet music catalogue to a world that never heard of Lennon-McCartney.  Grinning away at the easy money to come.  

But...history has it that the Beatles met with more than a few rejections from record labels before someone took a chance on them.  Couple that with a music history trivia fact that many Big Record Companies thought rock n’ roll was an unpleasant fad that would end soon enough.  Somewhat impatient, they tried to force the end by making a big push with “bossa nova” (“Blame it on the Bossa Nova” by Eydie Gorme being a noteworthy effort).  We know how that effort fared in our world, but suppose it was a resounding success in this parallel Earth?  It could be very likely that my sheaf of Beatle’s music is of interest only to indie bands playing to a minority fringe of diehard rockers.

Let’s not get into hyper-detail.  Suffice to say that such a traveller would be playing very long odds indeed to “speculate” by taking an armload of popular creativity and expecting it to pay off.

The odds improve if the traveller can scout ahead and get the lay of the creative landscape first.  Find out what s/he can export or import that synchs up with successful trends.

BUT, even then, that traveller better be well-connected in the field to make use of his stolen works.  So I take the “Wings” songbook to a world where Paul McCartney was murdered instead of John Lennon.  And vice versa, bring home a suitcase of Lennon songs from that world.  I have no way to flog them in either world.  I can’t begin to conceive how to claim I came into possession of a dusty old trunk of lost tunes that would hold up under scrutiny.  I could have the cojones to claim them as my own, but I’d only be lost in a crowd of hopeful musicians, trying to get a meeting/break.

Books, art, music...whoever tries to pull this “import scam” has to be already connected in the particular industry to be able to step to the front of the very long queue with the treasure in hand.

A scenario/plot could be worked out where the right person with the right savvy with the right connections comes into the means of hopping to parallel Earths...but I can’t see it happening to the rest of us.

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