James Russell Lowell Quotes

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.

 
Context
This was a poem on copyright infringement which he held wrong. In American history, there has always been a significant part of the American population who were opposed to copyright on both moral and public policy grounds. In the first decades of existence, the United States did not legally recognize copyright. American publishers copied and republished English works with no compunctions. Benjamin Franklin was one of the worst offenders for people who saw it as an offence. English publishers and some American authors lobbied heavily in America and finally got Congress to pass copyright legislation. However, with every new technology, the battle is fought anew, and large numbers of Americans will use copyrighted material contrary to existing law and feel morally justified in doing so, Publishers and other owners of intellectual property then over compensate and they have lobbied heavily to stop what they call piracy by impinging what used to be the legitimate rights of consumers, readers and scholars—even those who were not violating copyright. It is another of those American political issues that never gets settled and is battled in almost every generation.
James Russell Lowell
James Russell Lowell
  • Born: February 22, 1819
  • Died: August 12, 1891
  • Nationality: American
  • Profession: Poet

James Russell Lowell was an American Romantic poet, critic, editor, and diplomat. He is associated with the Fireside Poets, a group of New England writers who were among the first American poets that rivaled the popularity of British poets. These writers usually used conventional forms and meters in their poetry, making them suitable for families entertaining at their fireside.