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Against Monopoly

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Monopoly corrupts. Absolute monopoly corrupts absolutely.





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Britain uses copyright to suppress dissident views

The Washington Post carries an account of a curious use of copyright to suppress publication of the dissident views on human rights which ended the career of British Ambassador to Uzbekistan Craig Murray (link here). The money quote from Murray: "I also wanted to publish a large number of documents to corroborate my story -- including my official dispatches from Tashkent and the government's demands that I change the text -- but when the government threatened legal action, I removed the documents from my book. I have continued to receive threatening letters; when Foreign Office lawyers argued that the government still retains copyright over all documents produced by the government (even if obtained through Freedom of Information laws), I had to remove them from my Web site." (The documents are said to be available on other websites, presumably outside Britain.)

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In fact copyright originated as a method by the English crown to suppress free speech. They granted a monopoly over the printing of books, and authorized the monopolist to burn all "unauthorized" copies - especially those critical of the crown. So copyright returns to its roots.

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