Well, the world didn't implode upon itself today. Not that there was any real danger of it.
If you don't know what I'm talking about, there's a monstrous physics machine deep underground somewhere in Europe that started humming today. It flings protons at each other at ridiculous speeds, allowing scientists to conduct experiments that would be otherwise impossible.
This is a collection of images of the collider and the monument constructed above it. This is an article from yesterday, regarding the firing-up of the machine and the best and worst possible outcomes of the experiments, with respect to several major laws of physics.
I rather doubt that any physical laws will be destroyed in the near future, but it's certainly happened in the past. Once, it was simply the truth that the world was flat. And it was a pretty big deal when that changed. But we survived, and we can do so again.
What's really interesting to note is that scientific and mathematical discoveries are copyrighted. Or patented, at least. You can't go around claiming that you invented the lightbulb or that you discovered pi. If any of the scientists working at the LHC prove or disprove any major laws of physics, credit's all theirs. The easiest way to keep track of such things is my naming their new laws and discoveries after them. Pythagorean triangles, Newtonian physics, the Galileian moons...
The difference between this protection and the realm of copyright, however, is a big one. The problem with copyright is that nobody wants to claim rights to the music or the books. They don't want to say that it's their own creative property. They just want copies of it. They want to enjoy someone else's creative property without necessarily giving credit to the other person for making it. That's like... implementing a pythagorean triplet but not citing Pythagoras. It's really not a big deal in the mathematical world. It happens all the time, and it's never a problem.
Why can't literature be more like math? Probably because math is free to practice, and literature usually isn't. But isn't that what libraries are for? Libraries are a wonderful concept. You don't have to pay for books, you can simply read them. I think they should be somehow expanded to the digital world. Online libraries, storing music and videos and digital media, that you can cite and look at, but you cannot copy. Perhaps it is an idealistic concept, but it's certainly a good one. The biggest problem with it is that is still does not cover the issue of remixes. When is it okay for someone to edit another person's work? Is it?
I think it is, as long as credit is given to the original author, but only for the original work.