Back to Second Life, Linden Labs, James Cameron and Avatar. To wit, according to Filmdrunk, James Cameron may have stolen Avatar in the first place.
Which just makes the entire thing complicated as hell. Track it out:
* Poul Anderson writes Call Me Joe in 1957.
* The Science Fiction Hall of Fame selects the novella for its compilation volume, The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, Volume Two: The Greatest Science Fiction Novellas of All Time in 1965.
* Both the novella Call Me Joe and Cameron's film Avatar share three striking similarities:
1. Both main characters are paraplegics.What the hell?
2. Both feature stories set on other planets where artificial lifeforms are grown to interact with the native populations better.
3. Both feature blue cat-people (though as Filmdrunk points out, Anderson's natives were half-cat, half-centaur).
Here's the problem, though. If (and I don't know the laws on written works; I should, but I don't) publication copyright still extends only to fifty years, then 2007 would end that fifty-year span. (Of course, that leaves out the question that James Cameron has been working on Avatar for the past three years, but I digress.)
How'ver, if the law extends to seventy years? Then the rights of publication remain with Poul Anderson until 2027, and James Cameron has stolen someone else's work to make an amazing amount of money.
Of course, it wouldn't be the first time.
So check out the surreality, if this is true:
* Poul Anderson writes a book about blue cat-people and a paraplegic.
* James Cameron lifts said book and uses it as the backbone for Avatar.
* Linden Labs calls the pixel people in Second Life "avatars", after the book by Neal Stephenson, "Snow Crash", published in 1992. (Great book, by the way, if you've never read it.)
* Linden Labs then uses Avatar-influenced skins (from a work that may well rest on the shoulders of infringing material) to use in Second Life advertising.
Readers of this blog, I have no doubt, will also likely link the fact that Linden Labs recently trumpeted on their blog about how awful copyright infringement is, and how it should be stopped once and for all.
Step up against content theft? Hardly, if the Labs are the ones infringing, and their model for such infringement is a man who's stolen copyrighted works twice. (See above link for the James Cameron/Terminator/Harlan Ellison link.)
And there's apparently more behind this story that I'll dig up tomorrow (in between picking up everything in the store in Penzance and the normal chores of life). Stay tuned.