Heinlein and Mark Twain on Copyright
From: Sandy Harris
I encountered this in Heinlein's first published story, "Life-Line".
My copy is in a Berkeley Books anthology called "The Past Through
Tomorrow". It originally appeared in 1939 in a pulp magazine called
"Thrilling Wonder Stories".
Judge, speaking to a lawyer:
" Before we leave this matter, I wish to comment on the theory inplied
" by you, Mr. Weems, when you claimed damage to your client. There has
" grown up in the minds of certian groups in this country the notion
" that, because a man or a corporation has made a profit out of the
" public for a number of years, the government and the courts are
" charged with the duty of guaranteeing such profit in the future,
" even in the face of changing circumstances and contrary public
" interest. This strange doctrine is not supported by statute nor
" common law. Neither individuals nor corporations have the right to
" come into court and ask that the clock of history be stopped, or
" turned back, for their private benefit. That is all.
Methinks this is a fine summary of the issue in the DVD cases, and more
generally of the push by "intellectual property" industries for laws
that help them restrict fair use.
When I sent the above to John Gilmore, EFF founder and author of
a fine essay "What's Wrong with Copy Protection":
He replied with:
| Subject: I'll trade you quotes: Samuel Clemens on Copyright
| "Only one thing is impossible for God: to find any sense in any copyright
| law on the planet. Whenever a copyright law is to be made or altered,
| then the idiots assemble."
One hopes this will not apply in the Canadian review.
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