What Copyright Is For

Copyright was created as “An Act for the encouragement of learning.”[1] It did so by guaranteeing the public ACCESS to the work of “learned men.” You can see the clearly by the requirement to donate FREE copies to the nations archive for public use.

“no person shall be entitled to the benefit of this act…unless he shall first deposit” Only AFTER you have given the public access to your work, can you subsequently claim the limited exclusive right to TRY to profit from your work. Original US law requires at least two copies be deposited, original British law requires copies be sent to every major library (nine) which was later increased to twelve.

The US copyright act itself, is clearly derived from the British “Statute of Anne”. (Almost as if by a plagiarist.) Direct statements can be found there as to the intention of the concept.

“Whereas Printers, Booksellers, and other Persons, have of late frequently taken the Liberty of Printing, Reprinting, and Publishing, or causing to be Printed, Reprinted, and Published Books, and other Writings, without the Consent of the Authors or Proprietors of such Books and Writings, to their very great Detriment, and too often to the Ruin of them and their Families: For Preventing therefore such Practices for the future, and for the Encouragement of Learned Men to Compose and Write useful Books;”[2]

Clearly, copyright was NEVER intended to protect the authors and/or publishers from the public. It directly addressed the problem of PUBLISHERS cheating authors, and thereby discouraging them from writing any of their learnings down. Since most people did not have direct contact with these “learned men” there was no way to pass on this knowledge to the next generation.

By vesting the work in the author, the act gave the learned men incentive to write their work down. By requiring deposit in libraries and archives, the act encouraged learning by enabling ACCESS to that knowledge.

(Everything else is a corruption of these basic principles.)


  • Capi, Jan 15th, 2008 @ 7:50am

[1] http://www.copyright.gov/history/1790act.pdf
[2] http://www.copyrighthistory.com/anne.html