copyright and censorship (was Re: [FoRK] NewTube VS OldTube)

Tony Finch < dot at dotat.at > on > Thu Oct 12 18:13:27 PDT 2006

On Thu, 12 Oct 2006, Luis Villa wrote:
>
> The family of limited, government-granted business monopolies
> (copyright and patent) which we now incorrectly lump in with trademark
> and trade secrets as 'intellectual property' have, in this country,
> been about inducing individuals to share their ideas with the public
> since the day the patent/copyright clause was written into the
> Constitution.

If you go back to the Statute of Queen Anne, then it's less clear that the
first copyright law was an enlightened attempt to improve the lot of
authors. In the 17th century, most publishing was closely controlled by
the government in order to prevent religious heresy. This control took the
form of government granted publishing monopolies and others were forbidden
from owning presses. After the 1707 Act of Union that created the UK from
the kingdoms of Scotland and England, there was a fight between the
Scottish booksellers and the London Stationers' Company over who would
control the publishing monopoly. Rather than just switching from a
monopoly system to a censorship system (such as existed for the theatre
until the 1960s) the government bowed to lobbying and preserved a limited
form of monopoly. The Stationers won this concession by spinning it as
being for the benefits and rights of authors rather than to preserve their
own businesses.

Tony.
-- 
f.a.n.finch  <dot at dotat.at>  http://dotat.at/
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