Against Monopoly

defending the right to innovate

Monopoly corrupts. Absolute monopoly corrupts absolutely.

Copyright Notice: We don't think much of copyright, so you can do what you want with the content on this blog. Of course we are hungry for publicity, so we would be pleased if you avoided plagiarism and gave us credit for what we have written. We encourage you not to impose copyright restrictions on your "derivative" works, but we won't try to stop you. For the legally or statist minded, you can consider yourself subject to a Creative Commons Attribution License.


Exquisite Irony

Sometimes a picture really is worth the thousand words that appear in the actual op-ed.

The irony of asserting that Shakespeare would have had any use for copyright is rich. The bard routinely stole other authors stories, characters, and conflicts, and remade them (remixed?) into the plays and language that we still read and perform today. And there is no evidence whatsoever that Shakespeare ever appealed to the copyright law of time (the so-call Royal Charter of 1557) to protect his own work. There is ample evidence that he took steps to keep his work from being stolen -- by making sure that no printer or scribe saw a full manuscript, and limiting actors to only the material they needed to properly learn and perform their parts. But copyright? No. I also suspect that were Shakespeare alive and working today, he would have been appalled by the Sonny Bono Mickey Mouse copyright extension act.


He would likely have been a victim of copyright; he was producing the Gray Albums of his time.

On the other hand, it sounds like he was trying to rely on trade secrecy as a protectionist tactic.

Wouldn't have worked, of course -- anyone in the audience taking detailed enough notes could have recreated a script and duplicated a play. The sixteenth-century analog hole.

He didn't just write plays, though, did he? He also involved himself in their performance, and as an expert. For that (knowing his own plays and the authorial intent behind them better than anybody else) he could command a price no matter how many copies of their scripts got loose. Furthermore, given their quality his services would have been in demand for authoring *new* scripts. That is, he could have hired his playwriting services out or even attempted a Renaissance version of a Kickstarter business model, say by asking fans to chip in to support the production of new material, which production could slow down or cease if the fans didn't provide.

Submit Comment

Blog Post


Email (optional):

Your Humanity:

Prove you are human by retyping the anti-spam code.
For example if the code is unodosthreefour,
type 1234 in the textbox below.

Anti-spam Code



Most Recent Comments

Some history

Killing people with patents SYSSY

IIPA thinks open source equals piracy rerwerwerwer

IIPA thinks open source equals piracy Thank you for this great

Questions and Challenges For Defenders of the Current Copyright Regime Eu acho que os direitos autorais da invenção ou projeto devem ser

IIPA thinks open source equals piracy https://essaywritingsolutions.co.uk/

Your Compulsory Assignment for Tonight rerrerrr

IIPA thinks open source equals piracy rwerwewre

An analysis of patent trolls by a trademark lawyer

Questions and Challenges For Defenders of the Current Copyright Regime It is one of the finest websites I have stumbled upon. It is not only well developed, but has good

Killing people with patents I'm not really commenting the post, but rather asking if this blog is going to make a comeback

The right to rub smooth using a hardened steel tool with ridges Finally got around to looking at the comments, sorry for delay... Replying to Stephan: I'm sorry

Let's See: Pallas, Pan, Patents, Persephone, Perses, Poseidon, Prometheus... Seems like a kinda bizarre proposal to me. We just need to abolish the patent system, not replace

The right to rub smooth using a hardened steel tool with ridges I'm a bit confused by this--even if "hired to invent" went away, that would just change the default

Do we need a law? @ Alexander Baker: So basically, if I copy parts of 'Titus Andronicus' to a webpage without

Do we need a law? The issue is whether the crime is punished not who punishes it. If somebody robs our house we do

Do we need a law? 1. Plagiarism most certainly is illegal, it is called "copyright infringement". One very famous

Yet another proof of the inutility of copyright. The 9/11 Commission report cost $15,000,000 to produce, not counting the salaries of the authors.

WKRP In Cincinnati - Requiem For A Masterpiece P.S. The link to Amazon's WKRP product page:

WKRP In Cincinnati - Requiem For A Masterpiece Hopefully some very good news. Shout! Factory is releasing the entire series of WKRP in Cincinnati,