In the Age of Computer Networks

Thursday, April 19, 2001
5:00 - 7:00 p.m.

Bartos Theater
MIT Media Lab
20 Ames Street


Copyright developed in the age of the printing press, and was designed to fit well with the system of centralized copying imposed by the printing press. But the copyright system does not fit well with computer networks, and only Draconian punishments can enforce it. Today the global corporations that profit from copyright are attempting to increase their copyright powers, while suppressing public access to technology so that they can retain control. But if we seriously hope to serve the purpose for which copyright was established in the US--to promote progress, for the benefit of the public--what needs to be done is either to reduce copyright powers or effectively eliminate them, depending on the kind of work. Governments must now protect the public's right to copy.

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