The Stationers came up with the Idea of copyright, but with a sleight of hand.

“In the long history of literature, copying was a significant cost to the person or organisation requiring a copy as they usually had to provide the parchment and either the time or a scribe to carry out the copying. As a result of this, most copying of books was carried out by the church, and the noble who could afford this activity.”

“When the printing press arrived in Europe, it not only reduced the price of books, but also made them available to many more people. This was a threat to the established order of the nobles and the church, and this resulted in a battle to control knowledge leading to control of printing. This control in England was administered by The Stationers Company and over most of the content by the church via Imprimatur.
Both these were a means of censoring the information that was printed by the State and the Church, and were a means of controlling what authors were allowed to publish.”

“In England, after the Censoring function of the Stationers company had been abolished, the Stationers came up with the Idea of copyright, so that the could maintain their control over the allocation of titles to printers. Note the sleight of hand in copyright, grant it automatically to an author, who has to transfer the right to the stationers to get the book published. This maintained their control over printing.”

“The natural right of an Author is that of deciding whether or not to publish a work. By long tradition, they also have a right of attribution, that is being named as the author of a work. Modern copyright is a recent invention which was created for the convenience and regulation of the publishing industry, rather than the right of an Author to control the actual copying of their work.”

“It is worth noting, that as far as I am able to tell, performance rights in music are an invention of the recording industry, and that under the original copyright rules, only sheet music was protectable. Again copyright is associated with the publishers, in this case record labels, rather than the creators of works.
Given the damage it is doing to society as the publishers try to maintain their control over copying, intrusive monitoring and arbitrary take down powers, it should be abolished, or drastically weakened.”

  • printersMate

December 31, 2012 – 11:20