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

It's interesting that you state that "public domain must contain valid, contemporary, and relevant works or it 
is of little value to the public. " Then what you are saying is that the public domain for the first 3/4 of 
the 20th century contained nothing valid, contemporary or relevant 
including the works of Mark Twain, Arthur Conan Doyle, Jack London, 
O'Henry. So consider the last 3/4. Why does the Gershwin estate fight to 
keep, Rhapsody in Blue out of the public domain. Why do publishing houses 
want to keep Hemingway, Hammit, Chandler, Mitchell out of the public 
domain? Why does Disney fight to keep Mickey Mouse? Why does TWI rejoice 
that Casablanca is safe for a few more years? Stratton's Electromagnetic 
Theory is 60yrs old.  Dirac's lectures on Quantum Mechanics are 70. Are 
they irrelevant today?These works are such that evidently the publishers 
do not want to relinquish copyright even after 50yrs. The argument that 
works must enter into the public domain at 28yrs to be valid contemporay 
or relevant does not hold. There is no question that a short term is 
valuable for some of the things you discuss. The things you discuss are 
all what the author can do for society but NOT what society can do for the 
author that has enriched it so well. What reward are they deserving? Is 
50yrs such a burden on society? No more so than 28yrs. 50yrs gives the 
author the chance of some long term income and the possibility of 
providing some for his spouse and for a few years for his children. Does 
28? Not really. Does 35? maybe. Does 40? Possibly Does 50 most probably!

"John Zulauf" <johnzu@ia.nsc.com>
Sent by: owner-dvd-discuss@eon.law.harvard.edu
11/09/01 08:22 AM
Please respond to dvd-discuss

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

microlenz@earthlink.net wrote:
> What are the reasons for 7yrs, 14 yrs, or 28? What purpose would
> be achieved by those terms rather than 50 from publication?

I believe I outlined why a 20-30 year maximum is of value

Earlier John Zulauf wrote:
> > the inspiration of youths imagination should be availabe as
> > the grist of maturity's production ==> 20-30years,

this is another revision of the statement others and I have made that a
public domain must contain valid, contemporary, and relevant works or it
is of little value to the public.  Whatever we demand as the public's
side of the copyright bargain, one cannot

As for the "to extend or not to extend" -- this useful as it promotes a
"shorter is better than longer" model and mind set in the law.  A
requirement for active publication or promotion of the work over the
full course of the initial term as a prerequisites would function as a
balance the public's desire for the shortest possible term, and the
copyright holders desire to continue earn profit from
still-valuable-at-14-years works (which I would argue are the vast

Finally I utterly disagree about supporting the "one hit sinecure" model
of copyright (which is what we have today) as:

(a) it guarantees that the most significant (or at least popular) works
of our time will only be available for further creative developement by
the highest bidder.  Effectively guaranteeing the corporatization of
those most important works.  When you think of the havoc hollywood has
consistantly played with great literature (and poor) the highest bidder
should not have the artistic control of our cultural "crown jewels."

(b) it disincentivises successful authors motivated by gain.  Copyright
is all about encouraging authors motivated by gain.  If authors cared
nothing for gain, the copyright would be unneeded as it would serve
motivate noone and yet cost the public their freedom to copy.  Though we
might establish some means of patronage to support these authors
voluntarily to enrich our culture (as have gov't and private grants to
the unprofitable art for years).   However if gain did not promote
progress by encouraging works, the copyright clause would be invalid, as
no exclusive right could meet the "promote progress" test.