Friday, 30 July 2010

Friends, Romans, countrymen,

The speech I prepared (copying the expression used by W. Shakespeare) but hope not to have to give any time soon.

Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears
I come to bury Copyright, not to praise it.
The evil that men do lives after them;
The good is oft interred with their bones;
So let it be with Copyright. The noble critic
Hath told you Copyright was out of date:
If it were so, it was a grievous fault,
And grievously hath Copyright answer'd it.
Here, under leave of the critic and the rest—
For the critic is an honourable man;
So are they all, all honourable men—
Come I to speak in Copyright’s funeral.
It was the creator’s friend, faithful providing just reward
But the critic says it was out of date;
And the critic is an honourable man.
Copyright hath brought many ideas home to the digital services
Whose exploits did their general coffers fill;
Did this in Copyright seem out of date?
When that the creator have cried, Copyright hath helped:
Copyright should be made of sterner stuff:
Yet the critic says it was out of date;
And the critic is an honourable man.

You all did see that on the Lupercal
In thrice times hundred years the world presented many a change
Which it did thrice times hundred managed. Was this out of date?
Yet the critic says it was out of date;
And, sure, the critic is an honourable man.
I speak not to disprove what the critic spoke,
But here I am to speak what I do know.
You all did love copyright once, not without cause:
What cause withholds you then, to mourn for copyright?
O judgment! thou art fled to brutish beasts,
And men have lost their reason. Bear with me;
My heart is in the coffin there with copyright,
And I must pause till it come back to me.

But yesterday the word of copyright might
Have stood against the world; now lies it there,
And none so poor to do it reverence.
O masters, if I were disposed to stir
Your hearts and minds to mutiny and rage,
I should do the critic wrong, and the academic wrong,
Who, you all know, are honourable men:
I will not do them wrong; I rather choose
To wrong the dead, to wrong myself and you,
Than I will wrong such honourable men.
But here's a parchment with the seal of copyright;
I found it in its closet, 'tis its will:
Let but the commons hear this testament—
Which, pardon me, I do not mean to read—
And they would go and kiss dead copyright's wounds
And dip their napkins in its sacred blood,
Yea, beg a hair of it for memory,
And, dying, mention it within their wills,
Bequeathing it as a rich legacy
Unto their issue.