Can copyrights at times be a disservice to society?

After taking an English class at school this year, I came to enjoy doing literary analysis quite a bit. I have been thinking I might start adding some here and there to the blog, perhaps even try my hand at poetry a bit. But, of course I wanted to look up the copyright laws and guidelines to legally being able to quote or talk about someone’s work, make sure everything is done legal, which with poetry it is said to be generally understood, and what someone may call a golden rule, to request permission from an author first, mainly because poetry is often so much shorter than other pieces of literature, there is not much of a line of “fair use”. Which, I have come to feel is understandable and I will try and do, although it might be a little awkward to ask permission and then go on to try and get into the author’s head a bit, it is a bit of a conflicting interest to get permission and then try to psychologically analyze someone, seems in bad taste a bit. Maybe I will stick to older pieces of work that are now in the public domain, we will see, maybe poetry writers understand that psychological analysis is just part of the game when you are doing a form of writing that is such an expression of emotions, often attempting to provoke those kinds of thoughts in the reader. 

But, off of the subject of poetry, I just got to thinking about copyright laws in general. I wondered if sometimes we go too far in a way that curbs the greater debate within society. When you think about it, the way the law might see it, is that a person buys a book and keeps their thoughts and analysis to themselves for the most part, they may share some thoughts with a friend or be part of a book club or something, but it is expected that all of these types of transactions will remain within a tighter private sphere. It would be illegal for me to go too far in discussing a book over the radio or through a podcast or something of that nature, because it might easily go past “fair use”, I might talk about the key points of a book in a way that would make people feel that it is no longer necessary for them to buy it. 

Which, I did find the best reason, and an excellent reason why we have such laws, because if we didn’t, it might curb people producing intellectual content in the first place, we want to incentivize people to come up with new ideas, thoughts, literary works, etc… That would seem the most important. 

But I do feel something is lost when we expect so much to happen within the private sphere, that everyone will go and buy the book or know someone that did and have these potentially important discussions all amongst themselves. When in an alternate universe, you might have a popular radio host that is well regarded that loves to read and could be sharing their thoughts and analysis of other people’s ideas and things like that, thus spreading knowledge much faster. You might have some savant like character that is just exceptional at finding important books and discussing them, provoking thoughts and conversation amongst so many people. To synthesize so much knowledge for people would be excellent, instead of reading a book a month, you might engage in thought provoking conversation about key thoughts of books once a day. 

It is just a fact that people aren’t going to read that many books, many people don’t like to read, don’t have the time, etc… so we bring out a lot of thoughts from people through copyright, but at the same time, we contain the knowledge and slow down the spread of it… 

The question I might pose, is can an idea in a book, some concept or thought, be too important to be bound and contained by copyright? That it is just such a profound piece of literature that the spread of its knowledge is deemed of greater importance to society as a whole. Should there be some sort of situation where we have a public buy out or something? Some price paid to an author to make their work public domain and allow it to spread as fast as possible? Still pay the author, and allow them to get profits from the book, but to release the knowledge within it to spread like wildfire? Allow any and all people to talk about it in any form they feel? 

It might end up being like one of the highest honors an author could receive, to have their book publicly bought out, maybe even have a little ceremony or an award or something? What books to choose would obviously be the hardest part of all of this, may be a bit of a grey area, especially if it was some part of the government or something. Maybe it could be some non-profit thing or similar to the way the Nobel prize runs their operations… 

I definitely understand why we want to entice people to produce thoughts and literature and all that, but at what point are we doing a disservice to society as well by slowing down the spread of important information?  Maybe we need some sort of public buy out in the form of some Greater Good clause or something of that nature… 

Something to think about anyways…

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