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Re: [dvd-discuss] Must Copyright terms be uniform?

I think I'd define the categories and protections and amend later. What 
seems to have happened is that in the last 50 yrs we've come up with all 
sorts of new things that need some sort of protection in their early 
stages and they have been thrown willy nilling into copyright. As those 
other categories are added appropriate terms should be debated and 
discussed rather than just doing what's been done...

(BTW- Books are an interesting case. Bestsellers need protection in the 
short term but some of the greatest works need it in the long term to 
recoup the initial investment and make a return. Like Macauley, I'd grant 
them some reasonable time <time limite TBD>)

"Arnold G. Reinhold" <reinhold@world.std.com>
Sent by: owner-dvd-discuss@eon.law.harvard.edu
11/07/01 07:06 AM
Please respond to dvd-discuss

        To:     dvd-discuss@eon.law.harvard.edu
        Subject:        Re: [dvd-discuss] Must Copyright terms be uniform?

I think the best argument for uniformity is the difficulty of 
defining categories. It might be clear now what constitutes a chip 
mask vs. a full length feature movie, but it might not be so clear in 
15 years.

I think one could get the same effect by requiring affirmative action 
to renew a copyright, like we had 50 years ago. I would have been 
more comfortable with all the copyright duration extensions if there 
was a substantial fee (say $100/yr) required to extend a term. Highly 
valuable copyrights (Mickey Mouse, Gone With the Wind, etc.) would 
see their terms lengthened, but the vast majority of material would 
enter the public domain much sooner.

It's hard to undo what has been done in terms of copyright duration 
(unless the Eldred case wins). Present copyright holders might claim 
a retroactive reduction in term constitutes an illegal taking and 
demand compensation from the government. But one way to reduce the 
damage might be an opt-out compulsory licensing scheme.  The opt out 
would require a periodic fee.  There would be a standard set of 
licensing terms for works that do not opt out.

I'd also like to see a mechanism for donating woks to the public 
domain, perhaps reserving rights for high value use, such as a movie 
adaptation. The net present value of the copyright might then be 

Arnold Reinhold

At 8:26 AM -0800 11/5/01, Michael A Rolenz wrote:
> Is there any reason why limited times for copyright material must be
>UNIFORM in duration?
>Leaving aside the maximum duration (120yrs is ridiculous! ). Copyright is
>a burden upon society. Why must that burden extend to 6 generations for
>things that even one generation has discarded? Does anybody make 8086s?,
>8080s, 80386s? 68000s, What of the old 707 op amp? The masks for these
>things all get copyright protection. What of software? DOS2.0 protected
>into the next century? Does everything have to have the same term? I 
>see why. THe purpose of copyright is to promote progress but at  a 
>point things aren't progressing. I think Prof. Litman is right.  For
>digital formats and media not only do we need to go back to what 
>should be but also we need to rethink just what it means to copyright and
>for what duration.