Upinvermont" has posted an excellent article, On Linux, Software Patents, Shakespeare & the Web.
I wonder if he's written any SPAM haiku?
"A SPAM, by any other aspic, would smell as sweet?"
But anyway, what I find most interesting about this article is how it brings the raging copying and building upon other's work of Elizabethan England into equation, or at least comparison, with the Open Source software ecosystem the literati often refer to simply as "Linux."
I have often compared the Open Source software environment to music. My favorite example being "Variations on a Theme by Paganini" by Johannes Brahms. A beautiful work of music which in no way detracts from the original, but does inspire someone who loves it to look up the original guitar work, like I did. It is also very much in doubt if such a work could have been produced under the present regime, considering what happened to George Harrison with My Sweet Lord.
Would Shakespeare's works have reached the audience they do today? Who can say. What I can say is that what happens outside of copyright and patent is very different than what happens under Intellectual Property: Imitation becomes not a crime, but the sincerest form of flattery.
If music be the food of love, play on. Play on, McDuff!