Digital Barbarism


In every argument, there must, inevitably, be opposing viewpoints. Most readers of this website know that we are of the mind that Congress should stop extending copyright limits to infinity (okay, so it’s not infinity yet, but it’s close). This book by Mark Helprin is his rebuttal to this long standing argument.

Right off, Helprin starts off with two “what if” scenarios. One in the year 2028 and the other in the year 1908. The futuristic scenario paints a picture that life in the future will be a lot different than it is now. Life will be a lot busier and Alaska will be a lot warmer than it is now. Helprin paints this picture well, as he is primarily a novelist.

The other scenario is about a member of parliament in the year 1908 taking a vacation in Italy. He hardly has to deal with anyone, he can just sit around lazily reading books and writing letters.

Helprin states he enjoys the second scenario better (as do I, to an extent). But what does this have to do with extending copyright?

Helprin meanders along through 229 pages yearning for a return to simpler times, derides the Creative Commons as a bunch of Communists, and calls for perpetual copyright.

Though, in the middle of all this chaos, there is something I do agree with. The quote from Sir Winston Churchill in the opening of the book states, “I am all for your using machines, but do not let them use you.”

This, to me, is one of the highlights of the book (and later when he talks about this line). Too many people let their machines use them. If people would turn off the computer every once in a while, listen to a record or CD, read a book, do something that is not computer related, then this world would get along a lot better.

Harper Collins web link.


One Response to “Digital Barbarism”

  1. Fantastic, I didn’t heard about this topic up to now. Thanx!!

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