Mudcat Café message #159506 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #16566   Message #159506
Posted By: Okiemockbird
07-Jan-00 - 09:42 AM
Thread Name: 'Should auld copyrights be forgot ?'
Subject: RE: BS: 'Should auld copyrights be forgot ?'
Chet W., I think copyright is the worst means of encouraging the arts, except for every other means.

More seriously: If you examine my post of 29-Dec-1999 10:38 AM above you'll see that I commented favorably on the old 42-year term for published works.

The question of the scope of copyright is tricky. For the most part I think rightsholders' lawyers have tended to overreach. On the other hand, some (though not all) of the music licensing provisions that were passed as the quid pro quo for the copyright extension seem to take a blunt-instrument approach to problems with the music licensing system. A bit more finesse would have been better, even if that would have made the scope of copyright in some circumstances slightly broader than under the rules that were actually passed.

Very generally, I tend toward a minimalist view of copyright. No more copyright, in duration or scope, should exist than is necessary "to promote science and useful arts". I am, however, impressed by an article by Neil Weinstock Netanel, "Copyright and a Democratic Civil Society", 106 Yale Law Journal 283(1996) which argues that copyright's purposes should be seen as supporting the existence of an independent writing profession, and for this one needs to extend copyright a bit beyond the minimum needed to encourage the creation of new works, though not to anything like the extent that the copyright maximalists desire.

I consider the extension of term for old works from 75 to 95 years, to have been nothing but a double-crossing act of greed--especially since the term of those old works was extended once already, from 56 years to 75 years, in 1978. A 95-year term is totally unnecessary even under the broadest reasonable interpretations of "promote science and useful arts" and "limited times" that I am willing to consider.