by Mike Masnick
Thu, Dec 20th 2007 5:34am
Earlier this year, we pointed out how ridiculous it was that the US was forcing South Korea to extend the length of copyright in the name of free trade agreements. After all, copyright is the opposite of free trade -- it's about monopoly protectionism, and that's very costly. Now we actually have an idea of just how costly. William Patry writes about the history of copyright extension, highlighting how it's really just a game of leapfrog, where Big Copyright holders use the differences in copyright law to continually extend it out further and further -- completely going against the purpose of copyright law. However, the real key to Patry's writeup is to point to a report from South Korea talking about just how much damage copyright extension is doing to local publishers. That's quite a statement, since copyright extension supporters always talk about how it's designed to help publishers. Not so. Publishers are complaining that the new rules will limit how many books they can publish, and the government is being forced to hand over approximately $170 million to keep the publishers happy. So, for all the talk of how copyright extension is necessary to protect the publishing industry, in South Korea, it seems to be costing taxpayers at least $170 million -- while making sure that fewer books are published. How is that possibly aligned with the stated purpose of copyright to encourage more content creation?
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