Retarding Progress. Again.

Saturday, August 16, 2008 

It looks like Internet radio is going away. That’s sad because it was a good application of streaming IP media and a nice innovation. It’s also sad because it demonstrates once again how divorced copyright law is from the constitutional clause that justifies it:

To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries

Copyright is not a property right; copyright is an agreement between the public and authors & inventors creating a privilege of limited exclusive right as incentive for dissemination of ideas because otherwise authors & inventors have only the choice of keeping their inventions secret or sharing them that the recipient does what he or she will with the information without limitation, which is the natural right of the recipient.

Any mechanism of securing exclusive right to the author or inventor must meet two tests to be constitutional:

  • the term of the exclusive right must be limited (that is it is not a property right),
  • the mechanism must demonstrably promote the progress of science and the useful arts.

An attempt was made to test the absurdly long exclusive term against the “limited” requirement and that failed because any finite term is by definition limited.

The test that must now be made is against the requirement that copyright laws “promote the progress of science and the useful arts.” The burden of proof should be on demonstrating that the laws do promote the progress of science and the useful arts because copyright is a limitation on the rights of the public and therefore intrinsically a burden on society. In granting copyright society temporarily yields their natural right to a privilege offered authors & inventors, a privilege that may be revoked at any time.

Current copyright laws do not pass the test of promoting the progress of science and the useful arts; they are a burden on innovation and have systematically retarded the progress of science and technology, strangling many significant innovations, once again with internet radio. Current copyright laws are therefore unconstitutional.

And seriously retarded.

Posted at 15:17:18 GMT-0700

Category: Politics