Monday, July 16, 2001

Copyright and Big Brother Orwell would be proud. First we have the term "intellectual property," a piece of double-talk that introduces the notion of excludability to a non-scarce good (ideas). Then we have a surveillance system being built through the Net that would make the KGB proud. And now, we have state-sanctioned indoctrination in schools in the UK, where children are being taught that sharing ideas is morally wrong. My favorite line: "Many [young people] believe, for example, that if you buy a CD, you buy the right to share it."

And before Americans start patting themselves on the back, note that the US government's own little working group on authorized sharing recommends exactly the same thing.

The saddest thing about all of this is how successful such brainwashing strategies have been in the past, particularly the notion that ideas are "property." Society benefits most when ideas are shared in the public domain, and copyright can and should support that. But even well meaning, intelligent individuals have bought the whole "ideas are property" con and cannot see how insidious and abusive current copyright regimes are.

Read the discussion on slashdot.


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