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September 30, 2003

"Embarassing" monopolies of ideas

In researching an article for streamingmedia.com about applying Creative Commons licenses to audio and video material, I came upon this incredibly relevant Thomas Jefferson quote about patents and copyright:

"Certainly an inventor ought to be allowed a right to the benefit of his invention for some certain time. It is equally certain it ought not to be perpetual; for to embarrass society with monopolies for every utensil existing, and in all the details of life, would be more injurious to them than had the supposed inventors never existed; because the natural understanding of its members would have suggested the same things or others as good."

--Thomas Jefferson to Oliver Evans, 1807. ME 11:201

In this time in which business and government are colluding to use senseless patents and perpetual copyright as a club with which to bludgeon competitors and customers into submission, it's fascinating to read Jefferson's declaration that, for both society and the economy, more is not necessarily better when it comes to the ownership of ideas.

Posted by larryb at 01:34 PM [permanent link]
Category: Misc
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