Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Copyright Infringement: The Silent Killer

If you've ridden the NYC subway in the past couple of years, there's a good chance you've seen Rubik's Cube guy. He walks around giving a mildly amusing spiel about the Rubik's Cube's claim to fame as the predecessor to PlayStation - and then he sells cubes for a dollar. Usually, he sells a few cubes per car. Is it slightly annoying to hear anyone talking loudly on a morning commute train, sure. Is it deserving of a profanity-laced meltdown worthy of Christian Bale? Yeah, not so much.

Try telling that to the tan, blonde, sunglasses-on-the-subway douchebag who first decided to tell Rubik's Cube guy that he was wrong to call it a Rubik's Cube since that's a brand name and what he was selling was a generic cube. And then decided to follow this unusual but valid point with a loud 5-minute tirade involving the words "asswipe," "fuckface" and about 30 other iterations of the word "fuck." And after poor Cube-man had made his way down the train in the face of such open hostility, another brave/sadistic commuter decided to engage Rage-man with a question about why copyright infringement matters so much to him. His response? "Because I'm a writer!" And then something about how he makes $9.50 an hour. The iPod earbuds were in, so I didn't get to hear how exactly this relates but, as someone who is a writer of sorts on her better days, can I just say on behalf of anyone who's ever put pen to paper - "writer" is not synonymous for "carte blanche to be a dickhead." Being a writer doesn't make you better, more entitled or even more perceptive than anyone else. Although, let's face facts, it probably does make you slightly crazier.

And Rage-man? With your totally uncalled for outburst, I think you managed to vilify yourself - thus turning the mildly annoying Cube-man into a temporary hero of sorts and his wares into a stand against douchebaggery. Which is why I think he sold about 4x the amount of usual cubes on the car this morning. And why Marvel is on the phone with him as we speak to develop a gritty origin story. Well done.

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