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> What unites all these books is that none of them paid the author anything

He's dead. None of the copies do that. I understand that the main point here is about counterfeiting, but perhaps copyright shouldn't last more than 50 years either...




People have a way of believing that the law -- whatever it might be -- makes terrible ideas into good ideas. From the bottom of https://www.kansas.com/news/state/article234237337.html :

> Last year, a Chinese national who was a research professor at Kansas State University was arrested and sentenced to 10 years in federal prison for stealing valuable American rice seeds — a trade secret — that can be used to treat gastrointestinal disease, antibiotic-associated diarrhea, hepatic disease, osteoporosis and inflammatory bowel disease.

God forbid someone release rice that cures various gastrointestinal diseases into the wild. Someone might be cured!


This is a different thing than copyright and is ironically far shorter in time limited for anyone to use.


Paying people for their work incentivizes them to do work. You can read about in the US Constitution.


> Paying people for their work

This whole thread started with

> He's dead.

The point being that they're not getting paid for their work. Perhaps their descendants are, or far more likely these days, their employer.


That's because we're talking about two different cases.

Copying without paying a >50 year old book: no real negative consequences

Copying without paying a seed that was developed in the last few years: significant negative consequences

(Obviously there are significant positive consequences to pirating that rice. But limited-term IP strikes a reasonable balance between getting more done and also releasing it to the public.)


The US Constitution explicitly allows slavery...




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