An Interesting view on Duration of Copyright

Here is an interesting article and discussion I stumbled across on the benefits versus the disadvantage of having an essentially perpetual copyright.

I am personally of the opinion that the duration of the current copyright law is absurd. If I live a full life, my book on the Faith of America’s Presidents could be under copyright for well over 125 years, possibly something nearing 150. I think the concept that my book and songs could still be under copyright in (say) 2136 is completely ludicrous.

And therein lies the heart of the issue: What is the goal of creating intellectual property—say, for the purposes of this blog, a song? To get righ, or to contribute something of lasting value?

If the sole purpose is to get rich, perhaps a perpetual copyright sounds like a good idea. But if the goal is more to create something of lasting value, works under copyright but decades past the point of financial viability will gather dust until everyone has forgotten about them, and then when they do enter the public domain, it will be too late, since everyone will have forgotten about them.

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3 Letters to the Editor

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  1. Don’t worry. By the time of 2136, the rapture will have already hit.

  2. You’re going to live a long time, Daniel. Perhaps the added years of protection will serve you well.

  3. I didn’t notice the link on my first reading this afternoon. (It might have had something to do with the fact that I was sneaking a peek during class.) I did read the article linked to and most of the comments. It is actually a new or at least quite different view of copyright from that which I’ve usually thought of.

    I’m a big Mark Twain fan, so I set out … maybe 1-1/2 hours ago, to find his article on copyright so I could link to it. After 90 minutes of enjoying newspaper articles from the 1800s on Twain, I did run across this summary of his speech before Congress, when they seem to have been considering implementing the “life + 50.” I can see his point, if you don’t mind wading through some rambling to read it.