History suggests copyright crusade is a lost cause

Recently, the Los Angeles Times's Jon Healey kicked off a new round in the long-running debate about the moral status of file-sharing. Critics of the practice analogize copyrights to property rights, suggesting that file-sharing is a form of theft. Property rights have emotional resonance across the political spectrum. As a result, those who want to increase the power of copyright owners have tended to stress the similarities between copyrights and property rights. In contrast, those who who favor less restrictive copyright laws, as well as those who oppose copyright altogether, have resisted this analogy.