American writer Mark Helprin has a vigorous piece in the New York Times asking in principle why author’s copyrights are expropriated by the state for the public good. Expropriating all kinds of things might serve the public good, he observes, but most states respect and protect property — except intellectual property.
Stanford IP prof Lawrence Lessig blazes back at him here. They have time, these profs; Lessig’s piece must be five times the length of Helprin’s, an enormous assembly of every justification ever mooted for setting short terms on copyright. But to my eye it never deals with Helprin’s essential point.
Late Update: We should have noticed: it reads like that not because Professor Lessig has so much time, but because this is a collective work from a wiki maintained by people interested in Lessigian ideas.