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

Kurt Hockenbury wrote:
> On Wed, 7 Nov 2001, John Galt wrote:
> > I constantly reread works
> > by Heinlein and Azimov all the time even two decades after their death
> > and may very well have to obtain a new copy some time, as my copies are
> > showing much wear.  So where is long enough for both cases?  A short
> > renewable copyright may very well be the way to go, with the cost of
> > renewal based on the formula above such that it's more trouble than it's
> > worth to renew a copyright on a non-useful work, but trivial to renew a
> > work that the copyright holder is playing by the rules.
> Even with a short, renewable copyright, I'd want a fixed, absolute, upper
> limit -- 50 years??  Less?

Less.  I think the working parameters for "limited times" should be

minimum:  that an author's works should (supposing the author's death at
time of publication) should be able to support his or her offspring into
their majority ==> ~18yrs


(a) that the inspiration of youths imagination should be availabe as the
grist of maturity's production ==> 20-30years,

(b) a single "magnum opus" shouldn't act as a lifelong sinecure -- but
that the the limited times should hang in Damaclesian (as opposed to
Johncleesian) fashion over every artist.  If we had 28 year terms, would
Paul McCarthney still only produce a song ever 5 years?

To me it looks like the founders really got it right in the first -- by
default 14 yrs.  But, if registered for the initial 14, as single 14
year extension (I'd settle for 7) for works still of value to the
copyright holder.

> Otherwise, the only things that will ever enter the public domain are items
> that are viewed as unprofitable.  Why should being "valuable" prevent
> something from entering the public domain?

Which of course invalidates the whole point of "promoting progress" --
if only the unvaluable works enter the public domain, then the public's
benefit and reason for providing the monopoly in the first place.  Works
must still be contemporary, relevant, and valuable when they enter the
public domain, or the constitutional mandate of "promoting progress" is
not met, and the term of the copyright is unconstitutional.