Going back just 30-40 years, people did not view copyright as property, rather there was a “broad consensus that copyright law was designed to encourage the growth of the public domain…”, people saw copyright as a monopoly that the public tolerated in order to encourage the creation of new works. It was viewed as a necessary evil that must be guarded against, lest it runs rampant. That is why before 1978 the vast majority of commercially published works in the US were public domain. In fact, the term intellectual property wasn’t even invented until the late 60s early 70s. [see http://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=intellectual+property&year_start=1800&year_end=2000&corpus=0&smoothing=3%5D [sources: The Purpose of Copyright by Lydia Pallas Loren http://open-spaces.com/article-v2n1-loren.php/, Sharing & Stealing, Jessica Litman. http://www-personal.umich.edu/~jdlitman/papers/sharing%26stealing.pdf%5D