Copyrights, Patents & Intellectual Property Quotes

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Quote Author Cited
Only one thing is impossible for God: To find any sense in any copyright law on the planet. Mark Twain
All good things which exist are the fruits of originality. John Stuart Mill
Fighting patents one by one will never eliminate the danger of software patents, any more than swatting mosquitoes will eliminate malaria. Richard Stallman
I declined it. As we enjoy great advantage from the invention of others, we should be glad of an opportunity to serve others by any invention of ours, and this we should do freely and generously. Benjamin Franklin
There has never been a time in history when more of our "culture" was as "owned" as it is now. And yet there has never been a time when the concentration of power to control the uses of culture has been as unquestioningly accepted as it is now. Lawrence Lessig
That free culture was carried to America; that was our birth — 1790. We established a regime that left creativity unregulated. Now it was unregulated because copyright law only covered "printing." Copyright law did not control derivative work. And copyright law granted this protection for the limited time of 14 years. Lawrence Lessig
The current term of protection for software is the life of an author plus 70 years, or, if it's work-for-hire, a total of 95 years. This is a bastardization of the Constitution's requirement that copyright be for "limited times." By the time Apple's Macintosh operating system finally falls into the public domain, there will be no machine that could possibly run it. The term of copyright for software is effectively unlimited. Lawrence Lessig
Invent for Victory : all Americans who have an invention or an idea which might be useful to their country are urged to sent it immediately to : National Inventors Council Department of Commerce-Washington, D.C. Elmo White
Monopolies are not justified by theory; they should be permitted only when justified by facts. If there is no solid basis for extending a certain monopoly protection, then we should not extend that protection. This does not mean that every copyright must prove its value initially. That would be a far too cumbersome system of control. But it does mean that every system or category of copyright or patent should prove its worth. Before the monopoly should be permitted, there must be reason to believe it will do some good — for society, and not just for monopoly holders. Lawrence Lessig
America started out as an invention society. Evan Schwartz
Whoever imagines that, because so many inventions and so many improvements in machinery have been made, there remains little else to be discovered, has but a feeble conception of the infinitude and vastness of mechanical powers, or of the unlimited reach of science. Much has been discovered, infinitely more remains unrevealed. The ingenuity of man is exploring a reign without limits, and delving in a mine whose treasures are exhaustless. John Ruggles
A country without a patent office and good patent laws was just a crab and couldn't travel anyway but sideways and backwards. Mark Twain
Are you Englishmen, or only Goths and Vandals? This is the Patent Office, the depository of the ingenuity and invention of the American nation, in which the whole civilized world is interested. Would you destroy it? If so, fire away! and let the charge pass through my body! William Thornton
The right of the inventor to his discovery, the right of the poet to his inspiration, depends upon those principles of eternal justice, which God has implanted in the heart of man. Judah P. Benjamin
The inventors of things useful and profitable to man's well-being were as a reward of their deserts thus honored by all men with everlasting remembrance. Diodorus Siculus
Everything that can be invented has been invented. Charles H. Duell
Taking out a patent is an invitation to a lawsuit. Thomas A. Edison
An act to vest authors with their copies, for the times therein mentioned. English Parliament
The greatest interest at stake is not that of the copyright holders or the database companies, rather it is the interest a free and open society has in ensuring that everyone can learn the facts, regardless of their economic background. We should regard our nation’s involvement in the knowledge of its citizens … as the highest and most precious intellectual property we can ever protect. Mike Goodwin
In not a single State of the Union is a married woman held to possess a right to her earnings within the family; and in not one-half of them has she a right to their control in business entered upon outside of the household. Should such a woman be successful in obtaining a patent, what then? Would she be free to do as she pleased with it? Not at all. She would hold no right, title, or power over this work of her own brain. She would possess no legal right to contract, or to license any one to use her invention. Neither, would her right be infringed, could she sue the offender. Matilda Joslyn Gage
The inventions of a nation are closely connected with the freedom of its people … Inventors must not only possess full freedom to exercise their powers, but there must also be a certain welcome and protection to their ideas. Deprived, as woman is, of political power, she has to face contempt of her sex, open and covert scorn of womanhood, deprecatory allusions to her intellectual powers,—all tending to hamper the expression of her inventive genius. Matilda Joslyn Gage
[Intellectual property] cannot, in nature, be a subject of property. He who receivers an idea from me, receives instructions from me without lessening mine, as; as he who lights his taper at mine, receives light without darkening me. Thomas Jefferson
For the general good of the world [written work] should be understood as … belonging to the publick. Samuel Johnson
Copyright is too valuable to be wholly renounced. James Madison
Inventions... cannot, in nature, be a subject of property. Society may give an exclusive right to the profits arising from them, as an encouragement to men to pursue ideas which may produce utility, but this may or may not be done, according to the will and convenience of the society, without claim or complaint from anybody... The exclusive right to invention is given not of natural right, but for the benefit of society Thomas Jefferson
No half-human “monsters” [will] be patented or any other “immoral inventions.” Bruce Lehman
If the only way a library can offer an Internet exhibit about the New Deal is to hire a lawyer to clear the rights to every image and sound, then the copyright system is burdening creativity in a way that has never been seen before Lawrence Lessig
We have a massive system to regulate creativity. A massive system of lawyers regulating creativity as copyright law has expanded in unrecognizable forms, going from a regulation of publishing to a regulation of copying. Law and technology produce, together, a kind of regulation of creativity we've not seen before. Lawrence Lessig
We live in a world with "free" content, and this freedom is not an imperfection. We listen to the radio without paying for the songs we hear; we hear friends humming tunes that they have not licensed. We tell jokes that reference movie plots without the permission of the directors. We read our children books, borrowed from a library, without paying the original copyright holder for the performance rights. Lawrence Lessig
Their giving great encouragement and immunities to the Inventors of New Manufactures, and the Discoverers of any New Mysteries in Trade, and to those that shall bring the Commodities of other Nations first in use and practice amongst them; for which the Author never goes without his due Reward allowed him at the Publique Charge. Josiah Child
If nature has made any one thing less susceptible than all others of exclusive property, it is the action of the thinking power called an idea, which an individual may exclusively possess as long as he keeps it to himself; but the moment it is divulged, it forces itself into the possession of everyone. Thomas Jefferson
You have not done well to publish your books of Rhetoric; for what is there now that we excel others in, if those things which we have been particularly instructed in be laid open to all? Alexander III
Created stuff is meant to be shared. That’s why the creative person created it. Why else do creative people exist? Peter McWilliams
Mickey Mouse Protection Act Anonymous
What we find in books is like the fire in our hearths. We fetch it from our neighbors, we kindle it at home, we communicate it to others, and it becomes the property of all. Voltaire
Americans have been selling this view around the world: that progress comes from perfect protection of intellectual property. Notwithstanding the fact that the most innovative and progressive space we've seen — the Internet — has been the place where intellectual property has been least respected. You know, facts don't get in the way of this ideology. Lawrence Lessig
If you understand this refrain, you're gonna' understand everything I want to say to you today. It has four parts: Creativity and innovation always builds on the past. The past always tries to control the creativity that builds upon it ., Free societies enable the future by limiting this power of the past ., Ours is less and less a free society. Lawrence Lessig
Either we, as a society, decide that copyright is the greater value to society, and take active steps to give up private communications as a concept. Either that, or we decide that the ability to communicate in private, without constant monitoring by authorities, has the greater value - in which case copyright will have to give way. Rickard Falkvinge
The Pirate Party believes it's time to think about digital rights rather than digital privilege. Pirate Party
We believe that patents exist to reward the inventors of truly outstanding ideas, not to allow big businesses to stifle competition with an ever-growing tide of trivial, incomprehensible, overreaching patents. We will stop the abuse of patent law by raising the bar on how innovative an idea has to be before it can be patented, and by prohibiting patents on software, business methods, concepts and works of nature. We will require a working model to be provided to the patent office before a patent is granted and we will strictly enforce the current rule that patents are invalid if they are "obvious to someone skilled in the art". Pirate Party
We would reduce copyright terms to a more sensible term of 10 years. Pirate Party
What we are fighting for is the intent of copyright as it is described in the US constitution: the promotion of culture. Rickard Falkvinge
You can't incent a dead person. No matter what we do, Hawthorne will not produce any more works, no matter how much we pay him. Lawrence Lessig
If you buy a DVD you have a copy. If you want a backup copy you buy another one. Jack Valenti
I wish I were getting a percentage of the sales, but I feel complimented actually because these people can steal anything from anybody. They haven’t paid for any of these pictures… They like my pictures so much that they continually steal them over and over again. Bob Gruen
A society made up of individuals who were all capable of original thought would probably be unendurable. The pressure of ideas would simply drive it frantic. H. L. Mencken
Shall an invention be patented or donated to the public freely? I have known some well-meaning scientific men ... to look askance at the patenting of inventions, as if it were a rather selfish and ungracious act, essentially unworthy. The answer is very simple. Publish an invention freely, and it will almost surely die from lack of interest in its development. It will not be developed and the world will not be benefited. Patent it, and if valuable, it will be taken up and developed into a business. Elihu Thomson
Let the future tell the truth and evaluate each one according to his work and accomplishments. The present is theirs; the future, for which I really worked, mine. Nikola Tesla
Marconi is a good fellow. Let him continue. He is using seventeen of my patents. Nikola Tesla
Creativity in copyright law only means that you didn’t copy it from someone else …. Most works that are protected under copyright are not creative in the colloquial sense of the word. William F. Patry
To have the choice between proprietary software packages, is being able to choose your master. Freedom means not having a master. And in the area of computing, freedom means not using proprietary software. Richard Stallman
Copyleft Richard Stallman
Arrangements to make people pay for using a program, including licensing of copies, always incur a tremendous cost to society through the cumbersome mechanisms necessary to figure out how much (that is, which programs) a person must pay for. And only a police state can force everyone to obey them. Consider a space station where air must be manufactured at great cost: charging each breather per liter of air may be fair, but wearing the metered gas mask all day and all night is intolerable even if everyone can afford to pay the air bill. And the TV cameras everywhere to see if you ever take the mask off are outrageous. It's better to support the air plant with a head tax and chuck the masks. Copying all or parts of a program is as natural to a programmer as breathing, and as productive. It ought to be as free. Richard Stallman
The patent system was established to encourage inventors to disclose the details of their inventions. Its purpose was to help society rather than to help inventors. At the time, the life span of 17 years for a patent was short compared with the rate of advance of the state of the art. Since patents are an issue only among manufacturers, for whom the cost and effort of a license agreement are small compared with setting up production, the patents often do not do much harm. They do not obstruct most individuals who use patented products. Richard Stallman
The best ideas are common property. Lucius Annaeus Seneca
If there is anything in the world that can really be called a man’s property, it is surely that which is the result of his mental activity. Arthur Schopenhauer
The people own the vaccine … There is no patent. Could you patent the sun? Jonas Salk
This is the patent-age of new inventions For killing bodies, and for saving souls, All propagated with the best intentions; Lord George Gordon
The Constitution never sanctioned the patenting of gadgets. Patents serve a higher end—the advance of science. William O. Douglas
In the world's history certain inventions and discoveries occurred of peculiar value, on account of their great efficiency in facilitating all other inventions and discoveries. Of these were the art of writing and of printing, the discovery of America, and the introduction of patent laws. Abraham Lincoln
I have been so constantly under the necessity of watching the movements of the most unprincipled set of pirates I have ever known, that all my time has been occupied in defense, in putting evidence into something like legal shape that I am the inventor of the Electro-Magnetic Telegraph. Samuel Morse
Only dead mathematics can be taught where the attitude of competition prevails: living mathematics must always be a communal possession. Mary Everest Boole
The patent system was established, I believe, to protect the lone inventor. In this it has not succeeded. … The patent system protects the institutions which favor invention. Ernst F. W. Alexanderson
We have 28,000 drug patents held by American universities that are not being developed. Birch Bayh
If the contest for an international copyright is to be managed like the annual pig-iron conflict, or the wool fight, ending in a compromise by which every interest gets a certain amount of protection at the expense of the public, it will certainly be of little service either to England, America, or humanity at large. What is needed is a legal protection for property in ideas; in other words, an authors' copyright. Atlantic Monthly
Patents can be overridden to protect the public health. Indonesia
The United States, in its early years engaged in massive illegal smuggling of intellectual properties from other counties…. The United states was a hotbed of intellectual piracy in the 19th century…. It was a way of jump-starting our industrial democracy…. Today we tell emerging nations, “do as we say, not as we did.” Peter Andreas
If the government objects to monopoly prices for new inventions, it should stop granting patents. Ludwig von Mises
With the copyright now extended to the life of the creator plus 100 years, for the first time in history no person henceforth will ever be able to freely use any work created in his lifetime. Lewis D. Eigen
The Congress shall have power . . . To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries United States
… the pursuit of civil rights by copyright. David Levering Lewis
The product of mental labor — science — always stands far below its value, because the labor-time necessary to reproduce it has no relation at all to the labor-time required for its original production. Karl Marx
If South Korea can reduce the risk that its firms will imitate and reverse engineer technology invented abroad, foreign firms become less hesitant to transfer technology to South Korean partners. Marcus Noland
Since [some] American publishers pay nothing to the English authors whose stories they appropriate and publish, other American publishers can not to afford to pay American authors for writing stories. United States Congress
In vain we call old notions fudge, And bend our conscience to our dealing; The Ten Commandments will not budge, And stealing will continue stealing. James Russell Lowell
The general rule of law is, that the noblest of human productions — knowledge, truths ascertained, conceptions and ideas — become, after voluntary communication to others, free as the air to common use. Louis D. Brandeis
Copyright is monopoly, and produces all the effects which the general voice of mankind attributes to monopoly ... It is good that authors should be remunerated; and the least exceptionable way of remunerating them is by a monopoly. Yet monopoly is an evil. For the sake of the good we must submit to the evil; but the evil ought not to last a day longer than is necessary for the purpose of securing the good. Thomas Babington Macaulay
The future of the nation depends in no small part on the efficiency of industry, and the efficiency of industry depends in no small part on the protection of intellectual property. Richard A. Posner
We shall have to share out the fruits of technology among the whole of mankind. The notion that the direct and immediate producers of the fruits of technology have a proprietary right to these fruits will have to be forgotten. After all, who is the producer? Man is a social animal, and the immediate producer has been helped to produce by the whole structure of society, beginning with his own education. Arnold J. Toynbee
Nothing is invented that has not appeared in nature first. Antoni Gaudi
Overprotecting intellectual property is as harmful as underprotecting it. Creativity is impossible without a rich public domain. Nothing today, likely nothing since we tamed fire, is genuinely new: Culture, like science and technology, grows by accretion, each new creator building on the works of those who came before. Overprotection stifles the very creative forces it's supposed to nurture. Alex Kozinski

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