The Continuing Need for the Commons
I found this intriguing editorial published in the Christian Science Monitor, and written by one of its former writers. What struck me particularly about the piece was that libraries remain true to the ideas — and ideals — of a commons, yet many communities fail to recognize them as such.
"Every invention, business technique, story, and song draws on what has come before. I couldn’t write this, nor you read it, without the English language – a gift to both of us. We all stand on many shoulders; and earlier concepts of property acknowledged this.
"Nowhere was this thinking more evident than in the realm of invention and ideas. America itself is an idea, the first nation so conceived; so the views of the Founders on this point are especially telling. Jefferson and Madison considered the mind to be the mother lode of freedom, and they wanted no restrictions – private or public – on its fruits. The copyright and patent clause of the Constitution generally restricts these private monopolies to limited times; and this provision is of a piece with the First Amendment protections of freedom of speech."
Jonathan Rowe. Our Dangerous Distance Between the Private and the Commons. Christian Science Monitor. May 27, 2004.