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

Yes. I think you are right. Focusing on compensating authors is perilous. 
The law does not protect people from making bad bargains only fraudulent 
ones. If there is no choice in bargains, then something is wrong with the 
market not copyright.

I hadn't heard of Bowie Bonds. Sound like a lovely investment. Of course, 
look what would have happened of you'd bought PeeWee Herman Bonds....OTOH 
there's another group that has every reason to see copyright extended yet 
another hundred years. ("Your great great great great great great great 
grandfather bought this Bowie Bond in 2001. It's a good thing they kept 
computer records because they didn't use acid free electoplated paper")

"Robert S. Thau" <rst@ai.mit.edu>
Sent by: owner-dvd-discuss@eon.law.harvard.edu
11/08/01 11:28 AM
Please respond to dvd-discuss

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

Michael A. Rolenz writes:
 > Yes but that's part of the financial bargain authors can make in a free 

 > market. If the market isn't free fix it using Anti trust laws, RICO or 
 > whatever. It's sad that Milne's daughter-in-law gets no money but SHE 
 > didn't write Pooh, her father-in-lawdid and he took the money and 
 > ran...now if the terms of copyright were reduced to something 
 > then we all can share Pooh when it gets in the public domain.

But she could still be receiving interest from the proceeds of the
deal, Disney might argue, adding that they wouldn't have paid as much
if there wasn't the prospect of distant future royalties, and her
current interest payments would have decreased as a result. 

There'd be an obvious fallacy here if the Pooh copyrights are already
older than the limits prevailing at the time of the deal (are they?),
but similar arguments in other cases aren't necessarily frivolous, or
even wrong. 

After all, we live in a world where David Bowie has actually issued
bonds backed by his songwriting royalties, so proceeds of future
record sales go not to him, but to the bondholders (and a google
search on "Bowie Bonds" shows that the term has now become generic, as
other songwriters have imitated the practice).

I certainly don't favor indefinite, or even long, copyright terms
myself, but I think this illustrates that there's a certain degree of
peril in focusing on whether authors are compensated, when what's
really gone wrong (IMHO) is that the public's side of the copyright
bargain has simply been abandoned.