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Digital Barbarism: A Writer's Manifesto
Novelist Mark Helprin anticipated that his 2007 "New York Times" op-ed piece about the extension of the term of copyright would be received quietly, if not altogether overlooked. Within a week, the article had accumulated 750,000 angry comments from individuals of the internet generation, who banded together out of a common desire to abolish copyright,...
Novelist Mark Helprin anticipated that his 2007 "New York Times" op-ed piece about the extension of the term of copyright would be received quietly, if not altogether overlooked. Within a week, the article had accumulated 750,000 angry comments from individuals of the internet generation, who banded together out of a common desire to abolish copyright, primarily so they can obtain and share music and software for free. Shocked by their breathtaking sense of entitlement and appalled by the breadth, speed, and illogic of their response, Helprin realized how drastically different this generation is from those before it. The copyright abolitionists, like the rest of their generation, were educated with a modern bias toward collaboration which has led them to denigrate individual efforts and in turn fueled their sense of entitlement to the fruits of other people's labors. More importantly, their selfish desire to 'stick it' to the greedy corporate interests who control the production and distribution of intellectual property leads them to seek to overturn the vital legal protections built up over centuries. Offering a ringing defense of the individual voice and its hard-won legal protections in the age of digital culture while attacking that culture for degrading the thought and language of an entire generation.
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