"The primary objective of copyright is not to reward the labor of authors, but ‘[t]o promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts.' To this end, copyright assures authors the right to their original expression, but encourages others to build freely upon the ideas and information conveyed by a work. This result is neither unfair nor unfortunate. It is the means by which copyright advances the progress of science and art."

Justice Sandra Day O'Connor
Feist Publications, Inc. v. Rural Telephone Service Co.
499 US 340, 349(1991)

"Only one thing is impossible for God: to find any sense in any copyright law on the planet . . . Whenever a copyright law is to be made or altered, then the idiots assemble."

Mark Twain

"Your fair use of this book is restricted. You may only read this book once."


"Copyright law is totally out of date. It is a Gutenberg artifact. Since it is a reactive process, it will probably have to break down completely before it is corrected."

Nicholas Negroponte, Being Digital, 1995

"The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), a gift to the well-financed entertainment and software industries, trashed the public interest. It gave copyright owners the right to assert absolute control over copyrighted material, effectively allowing them to prevent the public from asserting a variety of traditional user's rights, including the ‘fair use' of making personal copies."

Dan Gillmor, San Jose Mercury News

"The lesson of the DMCA is that purchased legislation tends to be lop-sided."

Craig Bruce

"Earlier generations of technology . . . have presented challenges to existing copyright law, but none have posed the same threat as the digital age."

John V. Pavlik, New Media Technology, 1996

"You look at this and you say this is insane. It's insane. And if it is only Hollywood that has to deal with this, OK, that's fine. Let them be insane. The problem is their insane rules are now being applied to the whole world. This insanity of control is expanding as everything you do touches copyrights."

Lawrence Lessig, "Free Culture"
Keynote address to Open Source Convention, July 24, 2002

"Once again, content owners have successfully promoted their own narrow financial interests over the broader public interest in preserving consumer access to literary, scientific, and other works."

Prof. Peter Jaszi, American University's Washington College of Law

"To promote public education and creative exchange, [copyright law] invites audiences and subsequent authors to use existing works in every conceivable manner that falls outside the province of the copyright owner's exclusive rights. Copyright law's perennial dilemma is to determine where exclusive rights should end and unrestrained public access should begin."

Neil Weinstock Netanel
"Copyright and a Democratic Civil Society"
Yale Law Journal, 1996

"Media companies'concern with protecting copyright does not always include protecting authors. Film studios, recording companies, software firms, and book publishers cite the need to protect creators when they lobby against digital piracy, but rarely say that they are simultaneously demanding that those creators surrender copyright in an unprecedented fashion. Anecdotes about this practice are legion. When I was recently asked to write a television script, the studio insisted that I sign four copies of an affidavit giving it all rights to my writing ‘throughout the Universe in perpetuity.' I telephoned a studio lawyer to see if I could keep a few moons of Jupiter. The lawyer became angry and pointed to the section of the affidavit in which I recognized that the studio ‘becomes the Author of the Writer's Work. We mean it,' the lawyer said."

Charles Mann, "Who Will Own Your Next Good Idea?"
The Atlantic Online, September1998