Thomas Babington Macaulay Quotes

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.

1st Baron Macaulay. The speech was in opposition to the extension of copyright to 60 years after the death of the author. The American Congress in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act did not take his advice and extended the time to 100 years. This was a radical change from the practice of our Founding Fathers who did not allow copyrights at all. America did not join the copyright convention until the 19th century and then for a far shorter period. When corporations started accumulating intellectual property, they made political contributions and hired lobbyists to increase the period of “evil” so they made windfall profits that were not expected.
Thomas Babington Macaulay
Thomas Babington Macaulay
  • Born: October 25, 1800
  • Died: December 28, 1859
  • Nationality: British
  • Profession: Poet

Thomas Babington Macaulay, 1st Baron Macaulay, FRS FRSE PC was a British historian and Whig politician. He wrote extensively as an essayist, on contemporary and historical sociopolitical subjects, and as a reviewer. His The History of England was a seminal and paradigmatic example of Whig historiography, and its literary style has remained an object of praise since its publication, including subsequent to the widespread condemnation of its historical contentions which became popular in the 20th century.