Re: Napster: thoughts and comments

From: Lee Daniel Crocker (
Date: Wed Jul 12 2000 - 18:59:08 MDT

> Unfortunately, present copyrights are being thrown out the window
> very quickly, and they took a long time to go into place.

Actually, they've only existed for the last 3-400 years, and
in their present form (protecting such things as photographs and
recorded music) for less than a century.

> They were made to protect. Otherwise anyone who had more
> resources can basically screw you selling your idea and claiming
> you never thought it up.

One should be careful to separate the /justification/ for a law
from the actual /purpose/ of the law, which are rarely the same.
Legislators always have some benign-sounding purpose for laws
that have some other intended purpose. Laws against encryption
technology claim to be about protecting national security and
facilitating criminal investigation; they are obviously intended
to make it easier for big brother to spy on the masses. All the
concealed carry laws that started passing in the south in the 20s
were justified as ways to reduce crime--they're real purpose was
to make it harder for uppity blacks to defend themselves against
lynching. The origin of copyright--the Statute of Anne--wasn't
even vaguely justified as protecting artists. It's purpose, even
as stated, was simply to grant a monopoly to the privileged class,
and its monopolies were granted to wealthy printers in exchange
for support. Later, the "protecting authors" justification was
used when the intent was just to subsidize wealthy printers and

Lee Daniel Crocker <> <>
"All inventions or works of authorship original to me, herein and past,
are placed irrevocably in the public domain, and may be used or modified
for any purpose, without permission, attribution, or notification."--LDC

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