[free-sklyarov] A historical "perspective"

Stephen R. Savitzky steve at theStarport.org
Fri Aug 31 21:08:01 PDT 2001

What if today's copyright laws had been around in, say, 1776?

  Would Francis Scott Key have been thrown back in jail for stealing the
  tune of "To Anacreon in Heaven" to use for "The Star Spangled Banner?"
  I find it amusing that so many of the US's patriotic songs, including
  its national anthem, were written to borrowed tunes.

  What about "My Country 'Tis of Thee", to the tune of "God Save the
  King"?  Could our revolution have been nipped in the bud by vigorous
  copyright enforcement?  This sort of thing isn't allowed anymore, even
  if you pay royalties on the music, without the permission of the
  copyright holders.

  Would anyone have been able to read Paul Revere's one-bit digital
  message ("one if by land, two if by sea" -- adding one to each bit is
  an obvious form of encoding) if a password had been required?  Would
  he even have been able to _send_ it if the encoding method had been

  Would the Declaration of Independence still be in the Library of
  Congress if it had been written in digital-rights-managed bits instead
  of durable hard-copy parchment?

[Readers from other countries can easily subsitute examples from their
 own history.  The Soviet-era _samizdat_ comes to mind, for instance.

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