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Origins of Copyright

It happened in Ireland, around 500 AD. An Irish monk St. Columba borrowed a then famous book from a monastery and copied it without permission.

In 561 AD he was brought to court. The High King Diarmuid’s decision was possibly the earliest precedent of copyright law. He said:

"To every cow its calf, to every book, its copy"

St. Columba didn’t agree and Battle of the Book at Cooldrumman ensued where 3000 men have died. As punishment, St. Columba was forced to live in exile.

He spent the rest of his life in Scotland where he converted a number of non-Christians and founded the great monastery of Iona.

In my research I found that some consider him the patron saint of poets, plagiarists, computer pirates and hackers.


By danijela on Jun 22, 2003 in