Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Plagiarism in revolutionary times

Todd Andrlik, in a blog post How Plagiarism Made America , which pushes his book Reporting the Revolutionary War: Before It Was History, It Was News, points to newspapers copying reports of other newspapers in the time of the Revolutionary War.
It is also true that during and after the Revolutionary War, Americans copied copyrighted British works. Note the first line of a post at Victorian Web: The first American "pirate" was probably Benjamin Franklin (1706-90), who was, among other things, a Philadelphia printer who re-published the works of British authors in the eighteenth century without seeking their permission or offering remuneration.

Andrlik writes: Thanks in no small part to this plagiarism, newspaper printers fanned the flames of rebellion and helped colonists realize the conflict was closer to home than perhaps they wanted to believe. Folks in central New Jersey were quite aware of the conflict, without needing to read copied accounts.

Separately, see the 2009 IPBiz post
Arguing for free "green patents": a twice-told story?
, which goes through the tours of Charles Dickens in the United States:

Dickens had an answer for that in 1842:

A week later, in Hartford, he argued that a native American literature would flourish only when American publishers were compelled by law to pay all writers their due, rather than being able to publish the works of any foreign author for free, a bad custom which only served to discourage literary production by American citizens. [from Allingham post]


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