I've spent the last 48 hours discussing intellectual property and copyright law, as well as, most importantly, the Ship of Theseus. All because I like to go to bars and play trivia. Let me explain.
Sunday night was the Sporcle trivia championships. Sporcle hosts weekly tirivia nights all over Michigan (and the country) and three times a year, the most successful teams (about 50 in our region) compete for a grand prize of $1500. It's a lot of fun. My team and I are very good at it. Unfortunately this time, we may have been better than the people writing the questions.
Cut to the chase: the final question works like Jeopardy. We were in first place by a couple points, but it was tight, so we bet the maxiumum points allowed, 30. It was for all intents and purposes, get the last question right, win the whole shebang.
I don't have the actual text of the question, but it was basically as follows: name one of the two primteime network scripted shows, currently in productioin, that has produced at least 220 episodes and has had original episodes appear on more than one network. There was some caveats about how scrpited isn't news or sports or reality tv, but that's the gist.
Now, spoiler alert, according to the question writers, the two correct answers are American Dad and Supernatural. That's not really the dispute. After much hemming and hawing, we answered One Day at a Time. It is a primteime scripted show that has had 222 episodes, is currently being produced and appeared on CBS and now Netflix. When we pointed this out, we were told to fuck off.
The crux of their argument seems to be that the current iteration of One Day at a Time isn't the same show that appeared on CBS from 1975-1984. Our argument, which we've dubbed the Doctor Who conundrum, is that if it has the same executive producer, the same premise, the same name and the same damn theme song, how is it not the same show?
The frustrating thing is that I think we are right on the facts, but our only arbitration involves making an argument to the people who fucked up and don't want to pay us and have really no incentive to do so. I get that the answers they provided are easier to see and had we thought of either we would have chucked our answer for one of those. However, I also think our argument is valid. It meets all the requirements of the question and there are countless examples to defend any counter arguments (Doctor Who invalidates most of the holes you could find, as everyone agrees that's the same show for 50 years even though it's a Ship of Theseus).
The worst part is perhaps that I'm stuck in an Amazon paradox. Yes, Amazon.com advertises on sites like Breitbart and I'd love to boycott them over that, but I've become too reliant on it. Sporcle has all but monopolized trivia in this town and I play it at least twice a week (and win a lot of money doing so). So what's a nerd to do? The only answer is: Up on your feet. Somewhere there's music playing. Don't you worry none, we'll just take it like it comes One Day at a Time.