There isn't much new here if you've heard Larry Lessig talk before, but he puts together a succinct explanation for why copyright extensions don't make sense, pointing out that the point of copyright is to encourage creative works -- so once they've been created, it's hard to see how extending the protection to those works increases the incentive to produce works that have already been produced. Obviously, the protection at the time of creation was enough to inspire the creation. To him, it's "double billing" the public, who has already paid the price of granting monopoly rights to the creator. He argues, persuasively, that if they must extend copyrights, why can't it just be for works that still have commercial value? The vast majority of older works have no commercial value under copyright any more, but could have some if they were moved to the public domain. Unfortunately, in order to keep Mickey Mouse locked up, that's not going to happen. The article also points out that European copyrights on famous songs were set to expire as of January 1st of this month. I haven't seen any other news as to whether or not this actually happened. Anyone?
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