“Newtonian Principia for intellectual property thus would suggest that the natural laws of gravity for ideas and inventions require any and all of them eventually – some sooner than others, but all, eventually – to fall, drift, settle, end up, crash into . . . the public domain. The common good, in other words, is where these things ultimately arrive, by intent, by social design, by gravity, even with today’s intricate systems of private licenses and contracts.
One day, who knows, a grad student in the discipline might actually draft a formula free of the arbitrary time dimensions legislated by private interests, such that the proper pull of our public domain might be explained. Perhaps it would be a formula like Newton’s law of universal gravitation…where, irrespective of the form of the creative act (song, photo, poem, play, book, film, drawing, tapestry), there is some math that predicts when every act becomes fully part of our free common heritage. Intellectual property, as we call it, is not meant to be private, except for a term, and then it’s meant to be public forever….”