The Duck of Minerva

The Duck Quacks at Twilight

The unbearable selectiveness of hackery

June 18, 2006

The latest NRO fund-raising gimmick:

Since this Trek-ban backlash seems to be motivating many Corner readers to give, I’m upping the ante. If the Trek-o-Meter hits $20,000 by the end of the weekend, NRO will launch a line of Trek-inspired merchandise.

Jonah Goldberg on intellectual property:

As I am in the intellectual property business, I’m a pretty big fan of intellectual property rights. And, without reading the stuff he’s referring to, I think I disagree with Mark. I may agree with him about the undesirability of certain “gibbering and twitching” in the popular culture, but I think he’s off his feed if he’s really suggesting the way to still such gesticulations is to weaken intellectual property rights.

That said, Mark hits on one of my — and my dad’s — favorite points. Copyright laws are, simply, a form of censorship. They prevent me from saying certain things, in certain ways, under certain circumstances, merely because they’ve been said before. Now, it’s a form of censorship, broadly speaking, I endorse.

I believe that what the NRO staff propose is technically trademark infringement rather than copyright infringement.But I have to wonder why self-proclaimed conservatives and protectors of property rights show so little regard for a capitalist mega-corporation and its trademarks. After all, Star Trek-themed NRO gear might certainly seem to create the miss-impression that the creative team behind Star Trek was endorsing ideological perspectives radically different than those affirmed in their scripts and story-lines.

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Daniel H. Nexon is a Professor at Georgetown University, with a joint appointment in the Department of Government and the School of Foreign Service. His academic work focuses on international-relations theory, power politics, empires and hegemony, and international order. He has also written on the relationship between popular culture and world politics.