Rebelling against the copyright laws by simply ignoring them may be something an individual cartoonist can do, but for a publisher there are a couple of obvious problems. The copyrights we need to copy tend to be cheaper than those typically owned by the large corporations who are at the heart of the use of copyright as censorship, so the battle isn’t worth the risk of punishment. We also rather relish the copyright payments we receive from elsewhere for quotations from our publications. And then of course what boss is going to instruct employees to engage in conduct which could land them in court? Ms Paley can contemplate bringing her film out in two versions — one with the copyright materials quoted omitted from it, and the other, black market edition with them in. I can’t figure out how we might apply that to books!

The general point she makes is good though. Copyright has been roiled up in the world of corporate assets. We need to break this connection which may be valid for hugely expensive products like Hollywood movies, but must be a different matter when it comes to quoting The Waste Land.

From The Digital Reader