Eben Moglen: The triumph of the intellectual property system’s support for incentives for producers. A joke

So it’s a long struggle, you know. The struggle to maintain freedom of thought has been going on a long time. And it’s been pretty, pretty brutal, from time to time.

No. The producers didn’t benefit. Most musicians in the world drive taxicabs, sweep floors. Most poets wait on tables.

Because, when you have an oligopoly of distribution, they reduce output to raise price.

The great welfare loss of the twentieth century was the creators deprived of the opportunity to create, by the oligopolistic need to reduce output to raise price.

Is there anyone who disagrees with me that the twenty first century will see no such thing as the unpublished poet? Every poet has a way to reach the web. The twentieth century saw damn near no such thing as the published poet, because publishers didn’t make any money from poetry, and poets swept floors. That was the triumph of the intellectual property system’s support for incentives for producers. A joke, if ever there was a sad sorry joke in the history of the world.

A joke.

But we’re not laughing any more.

We know what we mean to do, and we are doing it.

We are very fortunate generations, standing here on the shoulders of giants. People have been fighting for freedom of thought in the Western world for a thousand years, and we’re very grateful to them, because they kept it alive in very dirty times.

We’re doing it again. And the difference is, this time, we win.

  • Eben Moglen

https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Transcript_of_The_System_Of_Ownership_Of_Ideas
http://archive.org/details/TheSystemOfOwnershipOfIdeas

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