@salixlucida it appears that the article has been amended to indicate that the initial report may have been a TAD harsh, and used some words that indicated things were a bit worse than they actually are.

So perhaps this ISN'T a case of a company being completely horrible, just a case of... well, people misunderstanding things.

Let's hope so.

@publius @salixlucida Life wasn't so great for writers prior to the invention of copyright.

@mpjgregoire @publius

Patents expire much sooner than does copyright.

Industrial inventions are not like creative works such as writing, music and art.

@salixlucida @publius Patents are a different set of compromises established by government to favour innovation for the common good. Certainly there's no a priori answer to what those compromises should be. And there are special cases when the general rules shouldn't apply.

Looking at the article, it's worth noting that Alessandro Romaioli (one of the people who 3D-printed the valve) denies that manufacturer threatened them with a patent infringement lawsuit.


@mpjgregoire @salixlucida
For a layman, I like to think that know quite a bit about the history of copyright & how it intertwines with the history of printing ― I have handled a copy of one of the earliest printed books containing Greek text, an introduction to the Greek language written in Latin by Cardinal Bessarion, late Patriarch of Constantinople, to aid refugee Eastern scholars communicate with their Western counterparts ― and I really am not able to discern your meaning.

@publius @salixlucida Well, to be honest I was thinking of the passage that begins with "Johnson came up to London precisely at the time when the condition of a man of letters was most miserable and degraded. It was a dark night between two sunny days." from jacklynch.net/Texts/macaulay.h

But en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_ tells me that the Copyright Act was passed when #DrJohnson was an infant, so it's not necessarily the best example.


Perhaps it would be wiser for you, @publius, to tell me about how writers were rewarded for producing new written works prior to copyright -- rather than me trying to share my small knowledge with you. (Only if you want to, of course.)


@mpjgregoire @salixlucida
Before the arrival of printing, literacy was largely confined to two groups of people, viz, persons in religious profession, & the relatively well off. Such "men of letters", when they wrote, did so from some interior motive. It was not part of their livelihood, nor could it be, as the cost of producing books was very high, & the market for them small. It was generally supposed that, if you had a book in your possession, you were thereby entitled to copy it.

@mpjgregoire @salixlucida
(2) To the extent that anyone wrote in the hope of being materially rewarded, it was through patronage. Hence the custom of dedicating a work, typically with a fulsome introductory epistle, to some nobleman who might put one under his protection, or grant a pension.
Both of these currents, the writing for the sake of being read, & for patronage, continue with more or less vigour through the first two centuries of printing. The latter is seeing a kind of revival now.

@mpjgregoire @salixlucida
(3) Now, almost as soon as printing began, so did "pirate editions". Copyrights were first introduced with the main puspose of protecting the interest of the printer, who was also the publisher, & in effect that is the function they mostly fulfill to this day. Indeed, in the XVI Century one could (under certain conditions) obtain a copyright from the Holy See, which carried with it a sentence of excommunication against violators ― but was limited to 7 years.

@mpjgregoire @salixlucida
(4) In the XIX Century, rapidly improving literacy created a strong demand for literary productions, & publishers were in strenuous competition for authors, who thus got better terms than before or since. Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) pressed for extensions of copyright, saying that otherwise he would have nothing to leave his children. This was not because he hadn't been well paid, but because he had made a whole series of disastrous investments. One might well ask…

@mpjgregoire @salixlucida
(5) …why the rights of the public should be universally curtailed on such an account? If one favourite author was in an especially bad state, let the government grant him a pension or something (and we are back to patronage).

The first appearance I can find of the term "intellectual property", which tacitly converts a monopoly granted by public authority for a limited term & a limited purpose into a personal estate, is in the German Constitution of 1870.

@mpjgregoire @salixlucida
(6) I should also mention dramatists, who in most cases worked on commission ― as they often do today. They would be typically paid for the play, by the first company to perform it. In some cases a playwright might be retained by a company of players, perhaps on a small stipend, especially if he assisted with the staging. Once a play was peformed for the first time, it would become "repertory".

@mpjgregoire @salixlucida
I know someone whose single biggest source of income a couple of years back was a novel-length piece of fan fiction crossing «My Little Pony : Friendship is Magic» with «The Martian» by Andy Weir. Obviously, copyright law prohibited him from selling it, but the people who were reading it paid him anyway. That's patronage at work.

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