Kenneth Falck's Blog

The primary function of copyright laws

Posted on 2004-11-06 by Kenneth Falck

"The primary objective of copyright is not to reward the labor of authors, but [t]o promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts." "To this end, copyright assures authors the right to their original expression, but encourages others to build freely upon the ideas and information conveyed by a work. This result is neither unfair nor unfortunate. It is the means by which copyright advances the progress of science and art."

-- US Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor

If you stop to consider this for a while, you may realize that the general view most of us have on copyright is actually wrong. We automatically think of copyright as a method of rewarding the artists and producers for their work, because we currently live in a society based on strong financial values.

But when we discuss patent and copyright laws, we shouldn't be trying to find ways for artists or engineers to get richer. Instead, we must go to the source. Figure out how to advance science and promote art, how to let them evolve and make them better.

Some part of it may be monetary compensation, but the state of the world is clearly showing that the current strict copyright and patent laws are actually DAMAGING the development of both arts and science.

That's why some of us are worried. Not because we want to 'steal' ideas or get music for free.