Category Archives: Slavery

Everyone is entitled to my opinion

Brilliant Minds Think Alike, But Brilliant Lines Cost You

By DAVID D. KIRKPATRICK
Staff Reporter of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

Everyone’s entitled to David Brinkley’s opinion, but they have to pay for Ashleigh Brilliant’s thoughts.

Mr. Brinkley, the television journalist, says he has been the victim of “a shakedown.” He says the culprit is Mr. Brilliant, but more than that he won’t say: “I don’t want to get into it because I don’t want him coming back at me. We’ve paid him off. Now I just want to get rid of him.”

Mr. Brilliant’s racket: professional epigrammatist. Creating and copyrighting pithy mottoes has been his livelihood since 1967. So far, the 63-year-old former history professor has copyrighted 7,540 aphorisms, which he licenses for postcards, T-shirts and other products. They range from his favorite, “Fundamentally, there may be no basis for anything,” to No. 7,540: “My plan is to get through life without ever having a plan.” And they include No. 461, copyrighted in 1974: “Everybody Is Entitled to My Opinion.”

After Mr. Brinkley’s book with a similar title was published last fall, Mr. Brilliant wrote him a letter saying: “I have always had the utmost respect for you and your work … but I am sorry to tell you that there is a legal problem.” Noting that Brilliant v. W.B. Enterprises Inc. found that even a short, catchy phrase is entitled to copyright protection, Mr. Brilliant explained, “I am obliged to fight tenaciously to retain those rights, because my entire livelihood depends on it.”

Mr. Brinkley acknowledged in his book that he paid $1,000 to a friend of his daughter, Edwin Craig Wall III, for thinking the title up one night over dinner.

But Mr. Brilliant thinks Mr. Wall was just “subconsciously quoting” the saying, not creating it. “I impute no dishonesty to Mr. Wall,” Mr. Brilliant wrote to Mr. Brinkley, “but there is also a very good possibility that he had somewhere encountered it on one of my products.”

Indeed, the world of epigrams is fairly well-mined with Brilliant copyrights waiting for infringement. He has now settled 134 infringement claims, he says.

And in this case, too, he won in the end. Random House, which published Mr. Brinkley’s book, paid him $1,000 for the rights without agreeing to or contesting Mr. Brilliant’s claims.

All of which reminds Mr. Brilliant of thought No. 1,862: “Before you go to sleep tonight, please remember that all my dreams are copyrighted.”

Copyright © 1997 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

My opinion is that

People like Mr. Brilliant give professional epigrammatists a bad name Sultan of Occussi Ambeno

If restricting other people’s freedom of speech is what his “entire livelihood depends on” then it’s time to get a new job.

Let them drink Rheineck

Palmerston North MP Iain Lees-Galloway remembers fondly the days when his cultured palate was enriched with vast quantities of 50 cent cans of Rheineck beer.

I remember this from my student days. We would always look at the cheapest product that week, whether it be Tui, or Rheineck, or some of those other quality products. I remember Rheineck being 50c a can – it was disgusting.

And this is the prime example of buying something for one purpose only, and that is for its alcohol content and its cheapness, because you wouldn’t buy Rheineck on the taste …

… from the NZ Herald.

Quite right, too. You wouldn’t buy Rheineck on the taste. Why would you buy Rheineck?

You can still buy Rheineck. It’s currently on special at Foodtown, Woolworths and Countdown. $13.59 for a 12-pack of 330ml cans. Today’s price per can is $1.29, compared to 50 cents circa 1999. That’s a 250% price increase in 12 years.

… So, yes, we do need to increase the price

So, no, Iain. We don’t.

A party of parrots

It looks like Hekia Parata is the first off the blocks here in the Mana electorate. A flyer was in my mailbox a couple of weeks ago. Half the content is under the heading “I stand for:”

Not included are the three most important of the National Party’s stated values, viz.,

• Individual freedom and choice
• Personal responsibility
• Limited government

Included is

Safer communities. I back law and order policies that put victims first and deal with serious repeat offenders. I support early intervention for young offenders and measures to win the drug war on ‘P’.

Hekia’s list is standard copy that I presume has gone out to all candidates because the exact same text is on Mark Mitchell‘s website and Leonie Hapeta‘s website.

National Party candidates don’t know what they stand for. That’s why they have to be told. Parata’s party is not a party of principle, it’s a party of parrots!

The Looter’s Prayer

I got this in my email today.

Our Father,
who art in prison,
my mum knows not his name,
thy riots come,
read it in “The Sun”,
in Birmingham, as it is in London.
Give us this day our welfare bread.
And forgive us our looting,
as we are happy to loot those who defend stuff against us.
Lead us not into employment,
but deliver us free housing,
for thine is the Facebook,
the Blackberry & the Twitter,
forever and ever.
Innit.

It’s been a month since the England riots. Liberty Scott had a good commentary (and some harsh words for Russel Norman) at the time.

[Cross-posted to SOLO.]