This is the letter @angcwy wrote to the Irish Times a while ago after they started their sham marriage nonsense. They didn’t publish it.
It would appear my marriage is a sham - my husband and I married so I could reside and work in Ireland, our families were not present at our wedding, and despite 10 years of marriage and three children, my husband doesn’t always understand me.
So I am rereading Mordecai Richler’s great St Urbain’s Horsemen, I see I bought my copy in Green’s Bookshop, of glorious memory, but, anyway, I had long forgotten the epigraph, which is a nice quote from W. H. Auden:
Defenceless under the night
Our world in a stupor lies;
Yet, dotted everywhere,
Ironic points of light
Flash out wherever the Just
Exchange their messages:
May I, composed like them,
Of Eros and of dust,
Beleaguered by the same
Negation and despair,
Show an affirming flame.
Below is my submission to the Copyright Review Committee, it is far too theological in tone and you can find better submissions at
The particular thrill of creation is the feeling of making something out of nothing; the feeling of conjuring value out of abstract thought and lively spirit. This is as powerful a feeling as it is false: nothing we create is created out of nothing, from the very words we use, the material for creation is the vast estate of humanity’s intellectual achievements. The reason we have new ideas is that we have learned from the old ones.
No matter how large and original a leap we feel we have made in a piece of work, the value we add is small compared to the value our creation derives from humanity’s intellectual and creative heritage. To chose a mundane example, consider an introductory calculus textbook. People who write successful textbooks are often vociferous proponents of strict copyright rules, rules that favour the author and which might inhibit, for example, the photocopying of course material. Now consider the authors’ contribution, the particular worked examples they have chosen, the explanations they have written, and measure that against calculus itself, an amazing intellectual edifice built through the aggregated effort of thousands of working lives including those of not a few genius mathematicians. Surely, along with the authors, the public domain has a claim on the textbook.
Of course, we need copyright laws, they are a key component in the economic infrastructure supporting creative endeavor and it is just and useful to reward creative achievement with rights over what has been created. Even though calculus is the work of a legion of mathematicians, we still need people to write new and better calculus books; these people need to be rewarded and they deserve to own what they have written. However, I believe their rights should not, as far as is possible, artificially limit the benefit their creation might bring to the public. Fair use, a general right to make limited reproductions, sensible rules about orphaned works and a reasonable copyright period are nothing, I would contend, but the due owed to the public domain.
As the Committee well knows, addressing the details of copyright law is a matter of evidence; the economic ramifications of a particular change of detail are not obvious, but they have the potential to damage livelihoods. Decisions need to be based on careful examination of disinterested evidence rather than appeals to intuition. Unfortunately, I have nothing to contribute in this regard. My purpose here is to suggest that the evidence the Committee considers should be approached with an awareness of the broader authorship of creative output and of the public domain as an important component of that authorship.