December 1, 2012

COPYRIGHT: Recording Industry Could Catch More Flies With Honey, But Keeps Betting On Vinegar.

You’d think the GOP would be smart enough to take advantage of that. Well, some may be learning. . . .

Related item here:

The Founding Fathers wanted that term to be 14 years, with an additional 14 years if the author were still alive. After 28 years, they figured you’d had your chance to exploit your creation, and now it belonged to the nation at large. That way we would never end up with a system of hereditary privilege, similar to the printers guilds of Renaissance England, who tied up rights to dead authors and tightly controlled what could or could not be printed and who could or could not use literary material. . . . The Constitution is quite clear on the matter. It says copyrights are to be granted for “limited times.” I don’t know any definition of “limited” that would mean 75 years plus a 20-year extension plus the chance of getting another extension later. The whole issue was argued three centuries ago, and it was established as a principle of democracy that, when the author is dead, his work becomes the property of all. This was modified slightly to allow the first generation after his death to continue to collect royalties, presumably to protect widows and children. But that’s all that was intended. There was no argument ever made for a third- or fourth-generation royalty, much less a perpetual assignment of royalties to a corporation that never dies.

As a great man once said, at some point you’ve made enough money.