May 20, 2007
IN TODAY'S NEW YORK TIMES, Mark Helprin argues for perpetual copyright. I don't think his analogy to real estate works, though, unless copyright holders are put at risk of losing their copyrights unless they pay an annual tax on their property, or face easements by prescription, or, well, you get the idea.
At any rate, Rob Merges and I wrote an article a few years ago on why perpetual copyright -- and in particular Congressional action to extend existing copyrights and patents -- runs afoul of the Constitution. I should note that the Supreme Court didn't agree with us, but I see that as the Court's error, not ours, and hope that it will be corrected in time.
Anyway, you can read the article, which draws on both common-law notions of monopoly and intellectual property, and enumerated-powers Constitutional theory, by clicking right here.