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How Intellectual Protectionism fosters innovation

Here's a pretty old post from the blog archives of Geekery Today; it was written about 16 years ago, in 2008, on the World Wide Web.

… by legally prohibiting web designers from taking advantage of elegant standards-based methods for using their favorite fonts in web pages, unless the owner of the font has specifically written them a permission slip for that. Note that if I prepared a copy of the same document using desktop publishing software, and printed 1,000,000 paper copies to distribute by snail mail to Internet users, I would not be breaking any legally-imposed monopolistic restrictions on web embedding. If I then took one of those paper copies, scanned it as a PNG image, and then distributed that image through my website, I would not be breaking any legally-imposed monopolistic restrictions on web embedding, either. If, on the other hand, I try to do the right thing and make my content available to users in a standard hypermedia format that can be properly indexed, searched, reformatted for accessibility, etc., I would be putting myself at risk of a lawsuit. In other words, your web design can be either ugly, broken, or illegal. Pick one.

Thanks, Intellectual Protectionism!

(Link via John Gruber.)

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  1. Robert Hutchinson

    I haven’t read very deep, but the comments on the page you linked are a wealth of logical argument gone unnoticed. Someone makes the valid point (although still rooted in an “IP is good” mindset) that this is directly analogous to the time when being able to add any image to a website was a new feature.

    Then someone replies that their use of IP is a “tiny 72 dpi image” that isn’t “scalable” or “usable as software”, as opposed to what these horrible font thieves are contemplating.

    Funny how much subjectivity there is to be found on the subject. And my imaginary friend is 20 feet tall and can fly.

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Anticopyright. This was written in 2008 by Rad Geek. Feel free to reprint if you like it. This machine kills intellectual monopolists.