Japan Is The Latest Country To Explore Copyright Term Extension

from the the-Disney-clause dept

William Patry points us to an article covering the debate going on in Japan about whether or not the country should extend copyright terms to life plus 70 years, rather than life plus 50 years. If this sounds familiar, it’s because plenty of other countries, including the UK, have recently gone through similar debates. The problem is that in the 90s Disney freaked out that the copyright on Mickey Mouse was going to go into the public domain. So, it pushed for Congress (via Sonny Bono) to extend copyrights out an extra 20 years. This made very little sense. After all, the purpose of copyrights is to create an incentive for the creation of new works. If the incentive is sufficient at the time of creation, then clearly it worked. There is no reason to then extend that incentive long after it succeeded — other than if you incorrectly believe that copyright is actually a welfare system for content creators. As the article points out, does anyone really believe that some people will only create content if they know it will be protected to 70 years past their death rather than 50? And, if that’s true, then why don’t the laws only protect newly created content? The content that was already created was created under the bargain that it was life plus 50. It would appear to be a violation of the pact that was made with the public (who give up the content from the public domain) to change those terms after the fact.

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Comments on “Japan Is The Latest Country To Explore Copyright Term Extension”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Copyright Is Overrated

There seem to be little evidence in the way of creating incentives via the monopolization of content.

Nor evidence suggest the world will be a worse place without copyright laws. One historic example is the United States’ publishing industry before copyright gained a stronghold.

During this era, British writers benefit tremendously from the US market despite of no copyright protection. The Americans also benefit from this arrangement as the price of books are generally cheap.

Some of the beneficial use of copyright law is the voluntary destruction of monopoly power prepretuated
by the authors themselves. This create a competitive environment in the world of free and open source softwares. This lead to the innovation of the package manager allowing users to maintain thousand of packages at once. There is also Compiz Fusion window manager that far outstrip the ability of Window Vista to deliever eye-candy.

This sector of the software industry demonstrate that market leaders can’t easily be unseated by merely copying them.

RedHat for example thrive despite of copycats such as Novell, CentOS and others.

However, these usage of copyright run counter of how copyright is supposed to be used and the theory behind it.

The proposed “reform” is merely trying to extend monopoly power for the unknown benefit of some unknown corporations and does nothing to encourage economic competition and economic progress.

Iron Chef says:

Thoughts on IP

The funny thing is that when the lawyers get involved, they make everyone out to be the victim.

That’s why I’m so interested in this two-pronged approach-

++ Provide incentive to license the IP.
++ If you don’t license, you loose Government IP protection.

Have you seen all the IP that NCR owns? Good god. They never had intentions to get into everything they have IP to. Read up on the history of Cobal, and ask why did it dissappear? Why didn’t anyone extend it?

Simple– Royalties. I reccomend reading up on NCR’s Patent portfolio.

The current system is like government subsidized unemployment in the 1980s. Only after people started realizing that people were on welfare for 10 years and weren’t looking for jobs, did they start putting in place more structure.

Today, we’re not talking jobs, but ideas, and the owners of said ideas have capability to lobby congress to extend their monopoly.

IP costs all of us. It costs consumers who buy the product, it costs the government, who has to maintain a legal system to properly litigate, it costs companies who have to defend their ‘victim’ mentality.

From my perspective, the best music out today is a reinterpretation of another’s works. Songs that properly sample, re-invent, or re-interpret an original work to fit today’s norms score kudos points from me.

Nothing is new.

Is there anything of which one can say,
“Look! This is something new”?
It was here already, long ago;
it was here before our time.

Yes, this quote came from the Bible. The most freely distributed article of all mankind, and yes, my favorite book is Ecclesiastes… It really kicks you in the ass when you think your high and mighty.

Anonymous Coward says:

Sonny Bono

If like Sonny Bono you can believe that we are all infested with spirit beings created when an evil intergalactic overlord massacred the populations of 76 planets, froze them, transported them to earth on spaceships that looked like DC10’s without engines, threw them into pacific island volcanoes and then nuked them then you should have no problem believing in copyright myths too.

R. H. (profile) says:

Copyright is out of hand but...

Copyright is out of hand but, I still believe that the system could work if the lengths were shortened. A flat length of 20-25 years should be more than enough. I’d personally advocate for 10-15 but, even if this was forced down their throats, I foresee the corporations playing dirty if it was shorter than that. I’d even concede that any currently active copyright would last for 20 years from the date the law was enacted or until its copyright under the current law expired, whichever was shorter. What people who are against the outrageous lengthening of copyright need to do is finance a big time lobbyist. The system is broken, everyone might as well use its problems for their own purposes. At least that would level the playing field a bit.

Iron Chef says:

Business Opportunity

Industries today force those who own IP a victim in the eyes of the lawyers, and owed something. Considering today’s focus on social networking…

I wonder if there was an EASY WAY for ASCAP artists to make lyrics, samples, etc available so someone could easily license and re-interpret their art as they see it, through almost using a shopping cart ideology. Sad thing is that this “ask” does not exist.

As an example for the Music Industry, Prince should lead this effort, and setup a site which would broker said transactions.

I love remixes. Not enough exist. Take DJ Bloom’s re-interpretation of Sarah McLaughlin’s “Stupid”. Unfortunately a forum to create musical remixes doesn’t exist. Unless your name is Paul Van Dyk, Moby, Armin Van Buuren, or Paul Oakenfold, you can’t break in.

As for all other IP, they should follow Prince’s lead. When you look at it from a 5000-foot level, it’s just building on previous art.


Anonymous Coward says:

Re: how bout

another example of when lawmakers think they can do whatever they want. wonder if any have consulted the constitution on the matter?

Constitutional limits on government don’t matter in times of war so now that we’re now in a never-ending global war against terrorism they can do what ever they want. Unless the people do something about it, which isn’t going to happen.

Iron Chef says:


To understand the personal aspects, find an older person with a clear memory of the Great Depression and World War II. He or she will surely remember the tremendous individual sacrifices, from the millions who lost their lives to the millions who had to delay their dreams. Yet that person may very likely recall those years with substantial fondness, as a time that was personally fulfilling in ways younger people might have trouble grasping.

My Grandpa passed on years ago. He was a decorated soldier with 32 medals of Honor, seven of which were Purple Hearts. Grandpa gave James Mitcher a black eye and broke his nose when he said he wanted to write a book about him.

I believe he told James to “Go To Hell”. I later went to a college with a library named after him. Talk about a weird experience…

It’s not that Grandpa didn’t want a book written about him, but that he wanted his privacy.

Today if you Google “James Mitchner”, you get 20 links. I find this curiously weird for someone who wrote over 500 books. Check Amazon.

So as a society, are we incapable of learning from our past, or do we just blatantly ignore it, because it’s not
“trendy”? When was the last time you talked with your elders?

Everything is cyclical… Whether we learn from it or not is up to you.

Exploited Artist says:

What ever happened to the old adage: “Follow the money!” – Who stands to benefit most from copyright term increases? Is it the original ‘creator’ (of the intellectual property) or just some future “equity owners”? In a financial marketplace like today’s, ‘equity’ easily converts into ‘tradable securities’ – and what does this have to do with an incentive to create more new works?

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