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On the way he laments that the Constitution says copyrights are to be granted for "limited times" and is thankful that congress can and has periodically extended the length of copyrights.
Lost on Mr. Helprin is that the entire value of an idea is it's usefulness to others and that public domain enriches more than "stockholders of various businesses."
The essay is not particularly well thought out and is perhaps beneath the attention of the Slashdot community. But it needs to be refuted on the grounds that is perpetuates the fallacy that intellectual property is the same as physical property and that authors have always had right to their intellectual property (which the nasty government has seen fit to take away) rather than the real situation where intellectual property is a fiction created by the government to encourage the creation and publication of creative works.
The article can be read here:
It shows the Bill of Rights. When an era is selected some phrases become obscured. Scrolling over the Bill of Rights magnifies that portion. Clicking an obscured portion produces an explanation of the violation.
Below is an example from the Civil War era.
Article the Sixth
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a xxxxxx xxx xxxxxx trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.
The x's represent "speedy and public". Clicking would reveal "1861 President Abraham Lincoln suspends Habeas Corpus and 13,000 people are held without trial.""
It shows the Bill of Rights. When an era is selected some phrases become obscured. Scrolling over the Bill of Rights magnifies that portion. Clicking an obscured portion produces an explanation of the violation."
A good-looking Postscript file isn't the same as a good-looking HTML file, though, so in my experience the output isn't quite so pretty as a hand-written HTML file (it indents paragraphs, for example, as that's what the style says to do, even though most HTML files don't do that). I suppose changing the style a bit could fix that, but I haven't got round to trying...