Who owns ideas

Submitted by Blake on Mon, 03/13/2000 - 14:19

Jon Katz has a really neat Story over on Slashdot that deals with the timely topic of copyright and intellectual property. I especially like this quote from Thomas Jefferson.

\"That ideas should freely spread from one to another over the globe, for the moral and mutual instruction of man, and improvement of his condition, seems to have been peculiarly and benevolently designed by nature, when she made them, like fire, expansible over all space, without lessening their density at any point, and like the air in which we breathe, move, and have our physical being, incapable of confinement or exclusive appropriation. Inventions then cannot, in nature, be a subject of property.\"\"In a world splitting increasingly into real and virtual geographies, who owns ideas? The free music wars are just the first in a series of political, cultural and legal struggles that are putting the very idea of copyright and intellectual property on the table for the first time.
It isn\'t an abstract or academic question. Some of the greatest prosperity in history has been created by an economic system -- capitalism -- which permits private parties to do business freely through a system of contract and property laws, agreements and understandings. Governments have always had a vested interest in defining rights to private property, and enforcing laws that protect it. \"

Make sure you read the Digital Millenium Copyright Act if you haven\'t.