Adrian Johns, author of Piracy: The Intellectual Property Wars from Gutenberg to Gates has written a posting for the Washington Post‘s Short Stack blog. In his post, Johns discusses the blowback that can result from attempts to clamp down on illegal copying:
Over the last half-millennium, measures to defend creative property have repeatedly proved counterproductive—not just because individual pirates themselves escaped, but because those measures triggered public reactions against their own proponents. The major transitions that constitute the history of intellectual property itself were repeatedly caused by precisely this kind of reaction. In effect, the present nature of both copyrights and patents is a legacy of this long history of police overreach.