"The primary objective of copyright is not to reward the labor of authors, but "[t]o promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts." To this end, copyright assures authors the right to their original expression, but encourages others to build freely upon the ideas and information conveyed by a work. This result is neither unfair nor unfortunate. It is the means by which copyright advances the progress of science and art."
by:
Sandra Day O'Connor
(1930-) American jurist, first female member of the Supreme Court of the United States
Source:
Feist Publications, Inc. v. Rural Telephone Service Co., 1991
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Reader comments about this quote:
Copyrights are used today to make everyone pay again and again. The song 'Happy Birthday to You' is copyrighted, and royalties are still being charged. I think it is going too far.
 -- E Archer, NYC     
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    This is when it's being misused, Archer. Just like M.J. owning the copyrights to Northern Songs; bought and sold only for profit. In keeping with Day- O'Conner's quote: What M.J. put out didn't build on John and Paul's work. What is at issue here is file-sharing and how the music industry - not the artists, are so opposed.
     -- L. Hanson, Edmonton, Canada     
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    "The primary objective of copyright IS to reward the labor of authors" It has nothing to do with the advancement of arts and science. Copyright laws protect an individual's efforts perseverance and dedication to a goal that the sets for himself once that product idea or invention is created is up to him to do as he whishes. Mrs. O'conor idea that an individual's productive means belong to the collective is truly frightening. Adam Smith's "Invisible hand" speaks volumes. I saddens me that our society finds it more repugnant to work for profit than it does to receive/accept stolen goods. The creator of anything has the right to profit from his creation and thus spawn other to emulate his drive, achievement, perseverance.
     -- Antonio, Cumming GA.     
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