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

What are the reasons for 7yrs, 14 yrs, or 28? What purpose would 
be achieved by those terms rather than 50 from publication?

Comments below

Date sent:      	Thu, 08 Nov 2001 08:29:38 -0700
From:           	"John Zulauf" <johnzu@ia.nsc.com>
To:             	dvd-discuss@eon.law.harvard.edu
Subject:        	Re: [dvd-discuss] Must Copyright terms be uniform?
Send reply to:  	dvd-discuss@eon.law.harvard.edu

> 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
> maximum:  
> (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?

OTOH why not? If the work is forgettable, who cares? The market 
takes care of that! So it's really only the ones that are great we are 
concerned with. If someone has only one truly great magnum opus 
in them and it enriches that much why not let they have their 
sinecure for 50yrs from publication...but no more. I don't begrudge 
Harper Lee the royalties from "To Kill a Mockingbird" or even 
Margaret Mitchell the royalties form GWTW. Would anyone 
begrudge Tolkien his royalties for LOTR and the Hobbit? These 
works enriched the world and even a 50yr copyright is not too 
much of a price to pay. BTW, in the case of Tolkien has the 
copyright stopped anyone from creating Tolkien pastiches? I 
stopped reading TerryBrooks decades ago!. Is the purpose to spur 
them on to more effort or else it's the poorhouse? The purpose of 
copyright isn't to create a creative sweatshop either.  A creative 
sweatshop is called hackwork! that's not going to enrich anyone.

> 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.

How about a nonnegociable 50. That's what you get and no more! 
We won't waste our time processing extensions. YOu get a great 
bargain but once it's over IT"S OVER!

> > 
> > 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.
> .002