On the legal front

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Thanks to a deal that GoOCo cut with Jack Valenti, a little-known feature of the DMCA means that there are special rules for ownership of certain kinds of mythic objects and ideas. [He may be gone, but his 'dead hand' still influences things.] The rights to the trademark kallisti and the ownership of the golden apple(s) are examples of this "mythic property" and as a result are governed under the (patriarchal, heteronormative) laws of Olympus:

  • mythic property can only be owned by gods and goddesses
  • all mythic property typically belongs to the Olympian gods; goddesses only own property that has been given to them by a god (for example, Aphrodite's cestus, which was a gift from Haphaestus)
  • if mortals wind up in possession of mythic property, they can make an offering to a god or goddess. [In some situations the new owner may have to give some form of recompense to the original owner.] if this offering is not done properly, ownership reverts to the previous or original owner
  • if mortals make an offering to a goddess, the actual ownership instead goes to her husband (if she has one) or her father.
  • if a goddess was given to a god in marriage by her father, and the father is an Olympian god, the father may retain property interests -- or veto power
  • mythic property cannot be given to gods and goddesses outside the tradition
  • if a goddess has children with an Olympian god, that god also has a property interest in her (men's rights advocates wet dream)

The possibilities of marriage (ordinary and ritual) and divorce, apotheosis and depotheosis add additional complexity:

  • When a mortal marries a god or goddess, they become a goddess or god for the duration of the marriage -- or until their partner depotheosizes
  • A god who depotheosizes retains his property rights
  • A newly-apotheosized incarnation of the god archetype essentially essentially has no initial property -- any accumulated property by him or his mythic wife is in actuality the property of the original Olympian god.
  • In divorces, the god typically retains all property interests, at least until the woman marries another god. (If it's a goddess, and she marries a mortal, nothing changes: her ex still has the rights.)
  • Consort arrangements have no affect on property rights

So which of three goddesses to give the apple to (in order for them to open source it)? At first blush:

  • Aphrodite hasn't remarried, so Hephaestus still has the rights; and Zeus [her real or adoptive father] maintains veto power. Also, she had kids with Ares, Dionysos, Hermes, and Poseidon; so they would all have rights.
  • Hera hasn't remarried, and even though she might get together with Orpheus (a mortal), the rights remain with Zeus.
  • Athena has never married, and so the rights remain with Zeus.

Hmm, not good. Can we change the rules of the contest? Eris can't unilaterally change the rules of the contest; however, there's a loophole: with her and Hermes' agreement, the person awarding an apple can give it to somebody he's married to (this didn't come up with Paris because he wasn't married at the time). Awarding it to the anomaly won't help, though: she's not from the tradition.

So (assuming I can find a way to apotheosize), there are a couple of goddesses who might be able to open source the apple:

  • Hestia has never married, has no kids, and her father is a Titan (not Olympian god)
  • Ariadne married Dionysus, who might well give his permission; her father was a mortal, so there aren't any issues there either. (Theseus similarly doesn't come into it)

So if I engage in a ritual marriage with either of them, this will make me a god -- which will allow me to change the terms of the contest to include them. Then I can award them the apple; and they can Creative Commons it it.

Hestia isn't the marrying kind, so it's a non-starter. And there's a complication with Ariadne: she's a goddess-by-marriage, so if she divorces Dionysus, then she loses her goddess status. Even though she and Dionysus are in a non-exclusive relationship, the Laws of Olympus require monogamy -- and consort relationships don't count.

So their aren't any obvious solutions.

Are there other possibilities?