“The Rights of the Molotov Man” brings up some very important questions to consider, and especially those that are more and more being an issue. Copyright laws have become blurry in the age of the internet and the question of originality of thought is always at play. At which point is something exclusively yours and at which point is it public domain, free for all to use?
I do believe that copyright laws are over- exaggerated. For some reason, American laws regarding plagiarism spin a confusing web of do’s and dont’s that leave a person always afraid of whether they are violating copyright. Students live in fear that they accidently misquote someone out of ignorance (see: complexity of what IS plagiarism) and end up with a zero. For example, there is a neuroscientist and writer named Jonah Lehrer, who, a few years ago, came under fire for copying much of his latest book, Imagine (whcih is about the brain and creative thought). Where was he copying much of the passages of this book? From his OWN articles written for Wired magazine. The issue was that the magazine held the rights to his article not him, but then again can we really judge a person for repeating his OWN thoughts? [Lehrer also fabricated some Bob Dylan quotes, but first he was under fire for copying his own writings]. Half the time when we talk of one topic repeatedly, we ourselves repeat much of same argument over and over again–eventually it becomes like a speech: we use the same words, same sentences. There is a technique. In this sense, I think that copyright laws are somewhat ridiculous in their scope. If you wrote something, you should not get into trouble for copying your own words. The magazine might have rights over your written word but your brain still retains them.
On the other hand, I do believe originality should be given due credit. For example, many people have altered the Mona Lisa in various art forms to make various statements but everyone knows the original creator was Da Vinci and the work belongs to him.