Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Time to Reform Copyright Law?

The Economist certainly seems to think so:

Parliament had given them rights, but it had set a time limit on them: 21 years for books already in print and 14 years for new ones, with an additional 14 years if the author was still alive when the first term ran out. After that, the material would enter the public domain so that anyone could reproduce it. The lawmakers intended thus to balance the incentive to create with the interest that society has in free access to knowledge and art. The Statute of Anne thus helped nurture and channel the spate of inventiveness that Enlightenment society and its successors have since enjoyed.

Over the past 50 years, however, that balance has shifted. Largely thanks to the entertainment industry’s lawyers and lobbyists, copyright’s scope and duration have vastly increased. In America, copyright holders get 95 years’ protection as a result of an extension granted in 1998, derided by critics as the “Mickey Mouse Protection Act”. They are now calling for even greater protection, and there have been efforts to introduce similar terms in Europe. Such arguments should be resisted: it is time to tip the balance back.

3 comments:

Jryad said...

I like your blog. As a law school student it's very helpful. I also find it interesting you are from Yap, Micronesia, as my mother's fiance is from the island of Yap.

I have never been there, but helped write the wikitravel article on it, including the picture. I hope to one day visit.

Bruce said...

Well, I'm currently based in Yap. Who's your mother's fiance? What village is he from?

Lawyers in maidstone kent said...

Excellent overview. Thanks for taking the time to put this together.