Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 21st Jul 2007 20:58 UTC
GNU, GPL, Open Source "Copyright developed in the age of the printing press, and was designed to fit with the system of centralized copying imposed by the printing press. But the copyright system does not fit well with computer networks, and only draconian punishments can enforce it. The global corporations that profit from copyright are lobbying for draconian punishments, and to increase their copyright powers, while suppressing public access to technology. But if we seriously hope to serve the only legitimate purpose of copyright - to promote progress, for the benefit of the public - then we must make changes in the other direction. This talk by Richard M. Stallman is broken into two parts: the main talk and the question and answer sessions following the talk. Both are available in only OGG/Theora format in keeping with Stallman's wishes."
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Means to an end
by zztaz on Sun 22nd Jul 2007 00:14 UTC
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The purpose of copyright law is to expand the public domain, not to reward authors. Granting publishers a temporary monopoly is a means to that end; a temporary monopoly in return for a permanent increase in knowledge available to the public.

When copyright has been weak or unenforced, private printings were common. Authors would solicit subscriptions, and print their works only when sufficent copies had been sold. The market rewarded authors for their creative work, but the public at large was usually left out. The modern equivalent is the limited edition; small numbers at high prices.

As a means to an end, that of making more knowledge freely available to the public, copyright does work. But only when the length of copyright is short enough that the work enters the public domain while it is still useful. Any longer than that, and the public benefit evaporates, any justification for government involvement evaporates, and special interests are simply using law to distort the market in their favor.

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