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[dvd-discuss] [OT] Model for copyright?

I can't claim that this is original, but it's certainly

Proposed that the objective of incenting artists while
enriching the public domain with still-valuable works is
reasonably accomplished by determining when the artist has
received *most* [1] of the commercial value of the work.
Mathematically, this can be approximated as the time when
the sales of the work decline to a small (let's say 10%)
portion of the extant copies.  In other words, when a work
which has sold a total of 1 million copies declines to
100,000 a year it's time for it to enter the public domain.

Keeping detailed records for each work is too expensive, too
prone to error, and too prone to abuse.  A reasonable compromise
would be to determine classes of works (movies, novels, textbooks,
newspapers, scientific journals, recorded music, etc.) and set
the expiration date for each.  Despite vulnerability to lobbying
and manipulation, that sounds like a job for the Librarian of
Congress.  Some classes of works (e.g. most periodicals) would
expire in a year since they're almost /never/ reprinted.  Novels
would probably last a decade or thereabouts, recorded music
somewhere in between, etc.

Part of what I like about the proposal is that it immediately
drives the discussion into the penny-pinching territory: the
Cartel is driven to explain why even after they've squeezed
four nines of the value out of a work they should still be able
to keep it out of the public domain.

| It's the heart afraid of breaking that never learns to dance  |
|  It's the dream afraid of waking that never takes the chance  |
|   It's the one who won't be taken who cannot seem to give     |
|    and the soul afraid of dyin' that never learns to live     |
+------------- D. C. Sessions <dcs@lumbercartel.com> -----------+