(entry last updated: 2002-08-05 08:46:12)
Another busy day, so I’m not sure how much posting I can do. But Tom W. Bell has an essay at Tech Central Station that looks interesting – another call to debunk “property” rhetoric in the area of copyright and patents.
It might also help drive the development of alternatives to copyright and patent were we to encourage practices more clearly demarcating the line between protected and unprotected creations. This would prove especially helpful in copyright law, where U.S. law by default grants protection to every fixed expression of authorship. I’ve thus argued for applying notices such as “Uncopyright,” “Uncopr.,” or even just “(¢)” to works that have been removed from, fallen out of, or never qualified for the Copyright Act’s protections. Such notices would encourage the growth of an “open” copyright system, one that respects and encourages movement across the Act’s porous border.
Beyond those measures, the best options for effectuating reform of copyright and patent law remain the standbys of reformers everywhere: long-shot legal claims, the diffuse effects of popular opinion, and long-term academic debates. Although that may sound dispiriting, I assure you from personal experience that it can prove a very engaging project. At the very least, the hard job of privatizing copyright and patent law promises to keep liberty-loving policy wonks motivated and busy for years to come.