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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
T in Oklahoma (Okiemockbird) The Purpose of Copyright (76* d) RE: 'The Purpose of Copyright' 05 Oct 00

Now that I'm back home I can comment at a bit more leisure.

Susan Aker's article contains a number of technical mistakes, it's true. She especially gets dates wrong, as one of the responses to the article pointed out. But what she gets exactly right is the heirarchy of values that's supposed to underly copyright. As I said in my post above, copyright is merely the means; an expanding public domain is the goal. Many recent changes in the copyright law, expecially the Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998, overthrow these public-spirited, constitutional values for the sake of corporate greed.

Take a look at this old cartoon by Thomas Nast. A modern interpretation of it would label the tiger "Copyright Term Extension"; label the spectators "Jack Valenti" or "MPAA", "Michael Eisner" or "Disney", and "Marilyn Bergmann" or "ASCAP" and so forth as room allowed; and label the torn woman "public domain". Examine the Nast picture, making those substitutions in your mind, and you'll get a good idea of what I think many recent changes in copyright law are doing to us.


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