Novelist Mark Helprin anticipated that his 2007 NEW YORK TIMES op-ed piece about the extension of the term of copyright would be received quietly‚ if not altogether overlooked. Within a week‚ the article had accumulated 750‚000 angry comments from individuals of the internet generation‚ who banded together out of a common desire to abolish copyright‚ primarily so they can obtain and share music and software for free.
Shocked by their breathtaking sense of entitlement and appalled by the breadth‚ speed‚ and illogic of their response‚ Helprin realized how drastically different this generation is from those before it. The copyright abolitionists‚ like the rest of their generation‚ were educated with a modern bias toward collaboration which has led them to denigrate individual efforts and in turn fueled their sense of entitlement to the fruits of other people's labors.
More importantly‚ their selfish desire to "stick it" to the greedy corporate interests who control the production and distribution of intellectual property leads them to seek to overturn the vital legal protections we have built up over centuries. Helprin's beautifully written book - a polemic wrapped in a memoir - explains why the popular campaign for an "open source" approach to intellectual property undermines not just the possibility of an independent literary culture but threatens the future of civilization itself.