Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Unlicensed Printing 1644

"Since therefore, the knowledge and survey of vice is in this world so necessary to the constituting of human wirtue, and the scanning of error to the confirmation of truth, how can we more safely and with less danger scout into the regions of sin and falsity than by reading all manner of tractates and hearing all manner of reason? And this is the benifit which may be had of books promiscuously read."
John Milton Areopagitica
A Speech for the Liberty of Unlicensed Printing to the Parliment of England 1644

I read the Areopagitica last night and kept thinking about the struggle surrounding intellectual property and copyright that exists today. It seems to me if there had not been Open Source and Fair Use in the 16th century there never would have been a Renaissance.
Milton did not succeed in his appeal to Parliment, and by 1653 Cromwell had assumed dictatorial powers as Lord Protector of the Commonwealth. Freedom of information and expression is needed, perhaps more so now in our society of completete
media dependance.

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