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T in Oklahoma (Okiemockbird) The Purpose of Copyright (76* d) RE: The Purpose of Copyright 24 Feb 02

Here is an article which contains a brief discussion of some of the issues Lawrence Lessig deals with in his book The Future of Ideas. Professor Lessig examines some recent developments in copyright law and makes some recommendations for how the law might be modified to run in more public-spirited channels. Specifically, he proposes that a complsory license be added to the law to allow for peer-to-peer file sharing.

Prof. Lessig also proposes a 5-year copyright term, renewable 15 times for a maximum term of 75 years for published works. I think this wouldn't be practical. The maximum period is a little too long, and the fifteen 5-year terms are too short. I'd propose a 60-year term constructed from three 20-year periods, or a 50-year term built from two 25-year periods. If I had everything my own way, the term of copyright would be about 40 years (with automatic termination of all transfers and licences at 20 years) but I don't think I'd get enough people to go along. Fifty-to-sixty years, though a bit too long, is at least politically achievable. A term of 20 years is probably a little too short - not by much, but a little - for everything except computer software. For most software even 20 years is a little too long.


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