This Strange Doctrine

by Schuyler Erle

Robert Heinlein said it best over 60 years ago, in his first published short story, "Life-Line":


There has grown up in the minds of certain groups in this country the notion that because a man or corporation has made a profit out of the public for a number of years, the government and the courts are charged with the duty of guaranteeing such profit in the future, even in the face of changing circumstances and contrary to public interest. This strange doctrine is not supported by statute or common law. Neither individuals nor corporations have any right to come into court and ask that the clock of history be stopped, or turned back.

As David Henkel-Wallace told the afternoon plenary session at ETech today, "Copyright is dead. It may take ten or thirty years to die, but it's dead." Would someone please notify the RIAA? The rest of us have work to do, and the "clock of history" is still ticking.