Last Friday, in a short essay for The Millions, I tried to call attention to an egregiously overlooked essay by Lewis Hyde on copyright and the Founding Fathers. I spent most of the time summarizing and quoting from Hyde, but did try to end on an original point:
Since December 13, 2005, when Hyde published it on the Social Science Research Network under a Creative Commons license, “Frames from the Framers” has been downloaded only 746 times. . . . [W]hile the Founders’ ideas still hold relevance, they do so in a much different media landscape, and these differences should play a part in any discussion. “Frames from the Framers” is part of Hyde’s book-in-progress, so its ideas will get their due soon enough. Still, it says some timely things in richly historical ways. Hyde’s essay deserves attention now—not least because its own reception offers one more thing to consider in our ongoing debate about individuals, intellectual property, and the circulation of ideas.
Well, Hyde’s is now the second-most popular essay at the SSRN. This is thanks in large part to the Internet taste-makers at Boing Boing; it also shows one way our “media landscape” now circulates ideas.
I’m going to stop before I give myself a meta-headache.