What Dune Can Tell You about Copyright and Creative Work (bonus: Space Swim Suit)

Everybody’s talking about Dune II, Netopia also wants to be in the club! We don’t review movies, but there is a copyright angle here – and not one you might expect. Here goes:

I have done a fair share of lecturing to students, mainly in games. Some of them want to start businesses and want to talk about how to protect their ideas. Except ideas don’t have any legal protection, it is the end result – the work – that can be legally protected. Actually, ideas have little or no value, it is only when you realize that idea into something that other people can enjoy or use that they get value. The more work you put into the idea, the more the value grows. Of course, a good idea is a great motivation for that work. (But the process tends to change the idea on the way, hence the concept “kill your darlings”). But I digress, the challenge is to explain this to the students without killing their enthusiasm. Enter: Frank Herbert.

Frank Herbert was of course the author of the Dune-books. The first movie was made in the 80’s by David Lynch and before the new movies came out, I used to illustrate this with an image of the star Sting in space swimtrunks. There is a story about how Frank Herbert when he did book signings often met fans who had the same brilliant proposal:

I love your books. I have a great idea for the next Dune-book. How about I tell you the idea, you write the book and we split the money?