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What's the Purpose of Ideas if Others Can't Share Them?

This morning, on the way to church, I heard an astoundingly silly advertisement on the radio to the effect that even just one "click" by one person could bring an end to the existence of music. It was quite remarkable in its gall and condescension, in its plea for people to "respect the music." Similarly spoke the pimp to the hooker's boyfriend.

Of course, part of what makes this hypothetically musicless future such nonsense is that plenty of musicians are willing to share their music for free or as a means to build careers and income through other outlets. Another part is the foolishness of copyright laws, as described in the Providence Journal:

Consider this: Of the hundreds of thousands of books published between 1920 and 1950, fewer than 6,000 are still in print. Many out-of-print books could be preserved on the Internet. Instead, copyright protections may doom them to oblivion. Will the greedy interests of mostly large corporations intent on squeezing every last royalty out of decades-old creations prevail, squelching the ability of billions of people to access and build upon important chunks of our shared literary heritage? Let's hope the court sees the compelling public purpose in restoring a more limited copyright term.

Posted by Justin Katz @ 02:10 PM EST