Why Public Libraries are just a Form of Theft Posted by BE on September 23rd, 2009 bte04711So you’ve just been reading in the paper about the zillions of dollars Dan Brown will make from The Lost Symbol to add to the zillions of dollars he made from The Da Vinci Code and the zillions more he made from the re-release of all his earlier books. And you’re thinking, ‘I should write a book. Even with a fraction of Dan Brown’s royalties, I’d be sitting pretty.’ You would, but you won’t – unless, like Lloyd Jones, you’re shortlisted for the Booker Prize and that’s unlikely. For the rest of us Kiwi hacks, there’s very little money in writing books.
“Public Libraries are just a Form of Theft” – Brian Edwards Returning to his old hobby horse Brian Edwards writes a scathing article against public libraries categorising it as a “crime” that the public “steal”, that they’re “stingy” and the tirade goes on. Like many copyright extremists, Brian interchangably talks about (1) the theft of a physical work, (2) making a copy perhaps by taking a photo, and (3) looking at a physical work. Only some of these have anything to do with copyright and licensing, and muddling these up is disingenuous. CFF’s Matthew Holloway responded in the comments. It raises the question: If Public Libraries Didn’t Exist, Could You Start One Today? With these kind of views around I sadly doubt it.
As most of you are aware, congress has recently passed as law to allow copyright to be applied to individual works of fire, both in terms of actual fires and in terms of manufactured oxidation potential like matches and lighters. I, for one, am glad to see justice finally served. I mean, think about it. You go through all the work to create a fire, and someone comes up to your fire and pokes a stick in it. They can then walk away, having stolen your fire, and use it for anything. Say they use it to light the ore smelter at a metals processing plant. They'd be making millions off of your fire without having to give you a DIME! Unauthorized fire transfer is exactly like walking into the original firestarter's home, stealing their VCR, TV, and all their tapes of "Earth 2," then sexually violating their household pets on the way out. It's exactly the same, and should be prosecuted as such.