Business & Management|Jul 7, 2012 8:00 AM| by:

Copyright Laws and the Dissemination of Higher Ideals


Most of us are familiar with copyright laws. You can see it on the first page of any book published by a commercial publisher, stating:

“No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical including photocopying, recording or by any information storage or retrieval system, without the written permission of the publisher”.

Not only publishers, but most magazines and journals follow the copyright law and demand a written oath from contributors to the journal, that the articles accepted for publication “has not been and will not be published” in any other magazine. In stark contrast to this commercial and cramped mentality, Benjamin B. Frenez and Ken Keyes Jr, in their highly acclaimed book Planethood, state in the first page of the book:

“Planethood is not copyrighted. Because our lives and all that we hold near and dear can be snuffed out by war or environmental destruction, neither the author nor the publisher will make even one cent from this book—you are urged to freely reproduce this book and use it in every possible way.”

And in the second page of the book, the authors dedicate it to “the oppressed of many lands who had the courage to stand up for human freedom and to those who strive for a more compassionate world where peace, dignity and a healthy environment will be the birthright of all the inhabitants of this small planet.” We can see here that idealism is matched by appropriate action. If I talk about creating “a compassionate world” and at the same time tie my ideas to the narrow bounds of the copyright law, my idealism is phony. The authors and publishers of Planethood have set an example which has to be followed by all those who want to create a world in which there is no barrier to the dissemination of knowledge and higher values. A spiritual idealist may say that these things have to be done silently and should not be proclaimed loudly. But sometimes such noble deviations from the established conventions have to be openly stated so that people know that such things are possible.

We admit that a commercial publisher cannot entirely discard the copyright law because he has to make a profit in order to survive. But those journals and magazines which profess to uphold higher ideals―moral, ecological or spiritual―should not insist on copyright laws. In fact to tie down spiritual ideals to narrow laws created for commercial and legal purposes is an unspiritual and unethical act. In a spiritual world there must be absolutely no restrictions to the free flow of knowledge and ideals which lead to the higher evolution of humanity.

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