Thursday, January 29, 2004

The Tyranny of Copyright

''The notion that intellectual property rights should never expire, and works never enter the public domain -- this is the truly fanatical and unconstitutional position,'' says Jonathan Zittrain, a co-founder of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School, the intellectual hub of the Copy Left.

Thinkers like Lessig and Zittrain promote a vision of a world in which copyright law gives individual creators the exclusive right to profit from their intellectual property for a brief, limited period -- thus providing an incentive to create while still allowing successive generations of creators to draw freely on earlier ideas. They stress that borrowing and collaboration are essential components of all creation and caution against being seduced by the romantic myth of ''the author'': the lone garret-dwelling poet, creating masterpieces out of thin air. ''No one writes from nothing,'' says Yochai Benkler, a professor at Yale Law School. ''We all take the world as it is and use it, remix it.''

Post a Comment