tmalone writes "This month's Harper's Magazine includes an excellent essay by the novelist Jonathan Lethem titled 'The Ecstasy of Influence: A Plagiarism,' in which he discusses the public commons of ideas and the absurdity of restricting other peoples' right of second use. 'Artists and their surrogates who fall into the trap of seeking recompense for every possible second use end up attacking their own best audience members for the crime of exalting and enshrining their work.' Taking issue with the idea that any work is 'untainted' by others' ideas, he declares, 'Any text is woven entirely with citations, references, echoes, cultural languages, which cut across it through and through in a vast stereophony.' Later on he argues that 'Contemporary copyright, trademark, and patent law is presently corrupted. The case for perpetual copyright is a denial of the essential gift-aspect of the creative act.' Lethem finishes up with simple request: 'Don't pirate my editions; do plunder my visions.' The best part of the essay is at the end when he provides a key to all of the sources he stole his ideas from."
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