Where the mechanics of creativity in ancient, mediaeval and Renaissance eras are discussed, together with the role of borrowing, imitation and copying in the development of popular culture. Our shift to a different paradigm that perceives borrowing and copying as a nuisance rather than an engine of creativity will be taken up in due course, in a later chapter. Here is introduced the idea of cumulative and collective creativity as opposed to solitary authorship. Authors and public in the past internalized well the perception that creativity is a cumulative act. Modern copyright law has finally sidelined that perception. This argument, developed over the course of the book, is my core critique of the present copyright system based on the exclusivity principle, which structurally neglects the cumulative nature of creativity. The next chapters highlight that we produced the largest portion of our immortal culture under a fully open regime as far as access to pre-existing expressions and reuse is concerned. Conversely, the endowment of strong property rights on creativity may actually have impoverished our capacity to produce long-lasting culture.
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