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Encouragement vs. Incentive: Some Food for Thought in the Copyright Debates

Given the kerfuffle among libertarians and conservatives in the past month over what is basic copyright policy, my colleague and copyright law expert, Chris Newman, sent me this interesting Google Ngram graph on the use of “encouragement” vs. “incentive.”

I won’t commit the fallacy of hasty generalization by inferring any conclusions from this single comparison, but it does provide interesting food for thought, especially for anyone claiming that historical uses of “encouragement” mean the exact same thing as “incentive.”

Encouragement vs. Incentive

I’ll leave it to full-time copyright scholars like Chris to determine if this data point fits into a bigger explanatory framework on historical copyright policy. As the Coffee Talk lady would say: I’m feeling a little verklempt, and so talk amongst yourselves.

Filed under: truth on the market