My copyright, my soul

Conceptual artist Jonathon Keats intends to auction off futures contracts on his brain pattern, which he copyrighted last year. The referenced Wired article considers the offer mainly as a commentary on copyright law.

I, however, wonder if Keats has read Greg Egan's Permutation City or similar science fiction. Keats' neural patterns, if ever completely measured and recorded, might be enough to "resuscitate" him as a conscious simulation at some point in the future. There, he'd be at the mercy of those with the rights to his "pattern." Would he be a mental slave laborer? A plaything?

So, a short story concept: Keats' present-day lark of a performance piece condemns him to potentially infinite confinement in a dark future, after not-so-nice people buy up his reproduction rights. Meanwhile, his peers who "retained their self copyrights" enjoy immortality in a near-paradise, enabled by the same technologies that imprison Keats. Imagery evocative of traditional fables about "selling one's soul to the devil" would be used throughout.

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