Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Copyright and the Great Library at Alexandria

The Duke University Center for the Study of the Public Domain has published their annual list of "What Would Have Entered The Public Domain" for 2015. TechDirt has a good digest of the list as well.

Edit: Here is the list for Jan 1, 2016.

None of that is going to happen.

When considering the government granted monopoly that is Copyright, it is important to keep in mind that the original reasoning and justification used for legislating Copyright in these United States, was to create a modern Library of Alexandria.

Every ship that sailed into the port city of Alexandria, Egypt, was required to give up any books, maps, and the like, that were on board to the Library in order that they be copied (if the library didn't already have one). The books would be returned once copied, although it would be fun to know how many ships had the copies given to them instead. That was why the Library was so extensive and important.

When the library was burned and Hypatia, its last librarian, killed trying to defend it, humanity entered into the Dark Ages, losing things as fundamental as concrete and the skills needed to build the Antikythera Mechanism that wouldn't be rediscovered for a thousand years.

The original reasoning in favor of the legal monopoly "Copyright" in these United States was that the restriction would exist for only a limited time. 7 years and 7 more if an additional application was filed (or 14, I forget), AND a copy of the work MUST be sent to the Library Of Congress. At the end of that time, all such works would then be both in the Public Domain, AND a copy would be available at one place where anyone could go and copy it.

The absurdities of Copyright as it is enforced now violate every reason for having it at all. I have heard that Public Domain works can be taken back under Copyright, which is simply evil. Not only is Copyright today effectively perpetual, application is automatic for EVERYTHING and requires no registration with the Library of Congress at all.

Copyright is now a tool for locking away information. The supposed benefits no longer exist.

Abolish it.

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