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Copyright madness and James Joyce 

Crooked Timber reports on how James Joyce’s grandson Stephen is putting obstacles in the way of recitations of Ulysses on the 100th Bloomsday, this June 16.

The European Union’s extension of copyright to 70 years beyond the author’s death means Stephen controls Joyce’s work until 2011.

Crooked Timber comments: “In economic terms, the idea of copyright is to balance the interests of the public in the free dissemination of what is, once it is produced, a naturally public good (and therefore ‘wants to be free’), with the need to encourage authors to create works in the first place. The example of Ulysses shows how far we have got the balance wrong. Does anyone seriously believe that Joyce was motivated, even in the slightest, by the prospect of enriching a grandchild who hadn’t even been born at the time.”

Another good reason to live in Britain  

BBC: “A survey of people’s religious beliefs in 10 countries suggests the UK is among the most secular nations in the world.”

A third of people in Britain don’t believe in god or a higher power, compared to only 9% in the US. What’s particularly gratifying to me about this result is that it is despite widespread penetration of church schools, particularly at the primary level in England.

I know this is a subject where I am highly intolerant, but so it is.

…and why I still don’t have a UK passport after 25 years 

The new citizenship ceremony, which I think is broadly a good idea, includes an oath of allegiance to the queen, which I think is a thoroughly terrible idea. At a very deep level I’m a lower-case r republican.

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