Pardon me, do you have the time? I’ve been spending way too much time thinking about time lately. How there’s never enough. How fast it goes (dang, it’s almost noon!). How to get more done, how to set priorities, how to schedule myself better, how I should watch less TV, how to be wherever I’m supposed to be at all times, doing whatever is the most important thing to do at that moment.

The bad news is, it’s driving me crazy – there is almost never a feeling inside that I actually am doing the most expedient thing. If I’m at home, I feel like I should be at work. If I’m at work, I feel like I should be at home. If I’m working in the yard, and I haven’t had a break for weeks, I feel like I should be relaxing. If I take a lazy Sunday morning to read the paper, have a leisurely breakfast, and play with Em for awhile before I get to work, I feel like I’ve wasted half the day. In other words, I won’t let myself win.

One thing is for sure: I want to do more than is humanly possible within the responsibilities I need to meet, and the physical constants of the universe. If there are 24 hours in a day, you can’t sleep 7 of them, work 8 of them, eat & clean up dishes two of them, spend an hour in the bathroom, exercise, practice an instrument, read books, watch TV, maintain and improve a house and two cars, take care of a kid, have a good relationship with your wife, learn a foreign language, learn to code html, keep your website and blog up to date, garden, and keep in touch with your friends.

It's Mine! All Mine!
Take it! It's Yours!
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about intellectual property rights and copyright infringement.

On the one hand, I feel strongly that people who have enough talent to try to make a viable living by creating things like songs and stories really should be able to claim ownership of the things that they produce, and be able to sell said product on an open market at a price that will support a decent lifestyle.

On the other hand, it seems odd that anybody could make millions or even hundreds of millions by selling a pattern of sounds in the air or marks on paper, and fairly absurd that copyright protection extends so far now, thanks to lobbying by corporations like Disney, that it’s hard not to outlive your creations’ eventual free use in the public domain. On a similar note, does anyone really deserve to make millions playing ball, or doing anything else, for that matter? Obviously, it all just comes down to business – and the music business is big business. So is the movie industry, so is television, so is publishing, and so is sports. If you can get enough hype going to get a million people to tune in to your show, line up at the box office, click over to Amazon, or pay for an ad slot, then I guess you ought to be able to collect whatever that market will bear for as long as you can. If P.T. Barnum’s suckers are still being born every minute, then let’s wean them on whatever pablum’s comin’ down the pipe and keep working at them until we bleed them dry.

At the other extreme, though, you’ve got someone like Seth Godin giving away Unleashing the Idea Virus as an e-book and generating enough of an idea virus about what he was up to that he had to go print some real books so he could sell them on Amazon. I saw him speak at the Audio Publishers Association convention at Book Expo America in New York last summer about how clever he was and what a great idea he had, but I can guarantee you that it was only a great idea because it was so unique – if everyone starts giving everything away, or if everyone just starts taking stuff that isn’t theirs, then ain’t nobody gonna be makin’ any money, folks.

I guess when you’re faced with what seems like an ethical dilemma, you have to go back to the basics, like the golden rule. If I was trying to make a living and support a family by publishing books or music, I’d expect to get what’s coming to me, so I try to make sure that if I’m enjoying someone else’s efforts, I pay for my ticket.