The Economist has posted a
column on copyright
inspired by the Eldred v. Ashcroft ruling.
"Copyright was originally the grant of a temporary
government-supported monopoly on copying a work, not a property right. Its
sole purpose was to encourage the circulation of ideas by giving creators
and publishers a short-term incentive to disseminate their work. Over the
past 50 years, as a result of heavy lobbying by content industries,
copyright has grown to such ludicrous proportions that it now often
inhibits rather than promotes the circulation of ideas, leaving thousands
of old movies, records and books languishing behind a legal
barrier. Starting from scratch today, no rational, disinterested lawmaker
would agree to copyrights that extend to 70 years after an author's death,
now the norm in the developed world.
" They argue for much shorter
copyrights, but for giving copyright holders "legal backing" for copy
Also in this week's Economist: an
article on the BSA/CSPP/RIAA deal and a
lengthy survey on the Internet society, with articles in privacy,
copyright protection, direct democracy, and more.
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