It seems increasingly likely with ongoing indefinite extension of copyright terms past the length of multiple human lifetimes that works copyrighted today will only enter the public domain in the USA as a result of government revolution or collapse rendering current law void or irrelevant. So start stocking up your fallout shelters will all the pirated movies you want!
Exactly! "Limited" has to mean something, but now seems to be based on the lifespan of corporations, not people. As it stands now, when someone the same age as you creates something under copyright, not only will it never become public domain in your lifetime, it probably won't enter the public domain for most of your children's lifetime either. That's really mind-boggling, when you think about it. At the current rate that copyright is being extended, it's more likely works will go into the public domain due to the American government collapsing or be overthrown than due to the expiration built into the law. This is an absurd situation.
Going back to the house printing idea, suppose you download Creative Commons-licensed plans for a house from the Internet, rent one of these house printing gadgets to build it for you. A few months later you wake up one morning being served a lawsuit by the AIAA (Architects Industry Association of America) because your house incorporates some copyrighted/patented design element, for which you must pay a license fee or they'll come knock your house down.
People seem to be missing the point. For follow the recording analogy, 3D printing now is somewhere between vinyl and early tape recording in terms of the ability for consumers to produce copies. The technology will get better. The problem that Mike anticipates is that copyright and patents are already severely bent out of shape by purely digital artifacts; if/when large numbers of individuals bypass conventional centralized manufacturing by taking digital artifacts and using them to produce real-world artifacts will turn many industries completely upside down. Those industries will likely fight back using legal, particularly the copyright and patent system.
My wife and I are professionals in our early 30s and have certainly given cable the boot in favor of Hulu and Netflix. For me it is a lifestyle thing since normal TV channels are always on and encourage you to leave the TV on for hours and hours blasting commercials into your home, whereas watching shows online is more deliberate, you are watching something you are specifically interested in and you are not bombarded with nearly as much advertising.
So yes, they are trying to make it out to be that dropping cable is "not cool", but from my perspective in fact it is exactly the young, technically savvy, high disposable income demographic that is deciding to drop cable in favor of media with a higher signal:noise ratio.
Of course, since canceling cable Comcast has jerked us around on the rate for internet service and sent pleeding packages to our door begging us to re-subscribe at cheaper rates then we were paying before.
Comcast is a perfect case study of pricing in monopoly conditions; they basically only offer three services (TV internet, VOIP phone) but they slice and dice the rate you actually pay based on what package you have, they charge an arm and a leg extra for HD service, the advertised prices only apply if you are a new subscriber, if not you pay a higher price, they'll only lower your rates if you threaten to quit...
Nobody every accused the right wing of intellectual consistency... IP issues are a perfect example of government policy distorting the natural market, but since it is framed as a "property rights" issue, increasingly draconian IP regimes can be spun as increasing freedom rather than taking it away.