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Copyright Considered Harmful?

August 24, 2010 8:32:57.000

There's some research into how Germany advanced so quickly - especially compared to the rest of Europe - in the 19th century. One possibility: lack of strong copyright law:

In Germany during the same period, publishers had plagiarizers -- who could reprint each new publication and sell it cheaply without fear of punishment -- breathing down their necks. Successful publishers were the ones who took a sophisticated approach in reaction to these copycats and devised a form of publication still common today, issuing fancy editions for their wealthy customers and low-priced paperbacks for the masses.

I'm pretty well convinced that copyrights, as we apply them in the US at least, are a net negative. They tie material up for ridiculous amounts of time, and they benefit big businesses (Disney comes to mind) far more than they benefit individual authors. I think it's well past time for a change.

posted by James Robertson

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