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Know Your (Copy)rights: Tips for Writers and Bloggers

That's a tall order for me because, temperamentally, I'm inclined to think that 99% of laws are unnecessary at best and, at worst, have been passed by powerful swindlers to keep plebes like me from getting in on their con.

Take libel, for instance.

Libel is what we got when we abolished dueling.

(That's not my attempt at a witticism. It's literally true.)

Since they're nothing more than an ugly vestigial growth left over from the olden days, we should repeal all libel laws and bring back pistols at dawn.

This might at least deter the wealthy and powerful from using libel and slander laws to try to silence their political opponents.

(It would help, though, if the United States finally adopted a "user pays" system like literally the rest of the planet...)

Likewise, copyright laws (and philosophies) are anachronistic, arbitrary and too often used as punitive cudgels.

As  Joe Karaganis noted in National Review:

All of this is a far cry from the narrow purposes of intellectual property (IP) outlined in the Constitution and early copyright law. The first U.S. copyright law, passed in 1790, established a 14-year term of protection, renewable for another 14 years.

It was about short-term incentives — about weighing monopolies on speech against its “natural condition” of circulation. Over the past century, this prioritization of the public domain was reversed.

Now we have copyright terms that make the public domain a mostly historical artifact, a century out of date. Now we can challenge the imperfect control of the Internet that enables piracy but also allows free speech.