I was trying to explain intellectual property law to the kids the other day. Yes - I know that sounds preposterous, but let me explain. M (age 8) had heard about “pirated” DVDs and wanted to know what that meant. I explained that it’s illegal to copy someone else work and try to sell it as your own - we refer to that as “pirating” - stealing something like the pirates of old. It was just like the rule against copying someone else’s schoolwork, I said. That should have settled it, but for some reason I thought I’d push the conversation forward - probably didn’t want my law school education to go to waste.
“It’s like the Harry Potter series,” I explained. It would be OK to create another book/movie about magical boy wizards. J.K. Rowling didn’t create the genre of magical boy stories, so she doesn’t have any right to restrict others from doing so.
“Like Charlie Bone,” said M.
“Yes, like Charlie Bone. He’s magical to some extent, but the author of those books isn’t trying to steal the Harry Potter idea.” I was amazed that I had enough knowledge of Charlie Bone to answer that one. Again, I should have stopped here, but I pushed on.
“Now what would be wrong would be if one of us created a series about a magical wizard boy named Larry Hotter, who went to a school called Pigswarts, and had two close friends called Don and Germoine.” I was quite proud of myself here, then the Dude broke in.
“No one would believe that anyway. Larry is a Chinese name.”
Note: The Dude has a kindergarten classmate named Larry who’s parents are from China.
Maybe you had to be there? It’s even funnier when you consider that the only person named “Hans” that we know is also Chinese-American - - one of M’s 3rd grade classmates.