Since When Has Copyright Become Life Plus 343 Years?

from the perpetual-copyright dept

If you follow copyright issues at all, you know that the length of copyright has been extended time and time again, mostly at the behest of entertainment industry interests who are fearful of their content falling into the public domain (even if they used public domain material to create their own content in the first place). However, copyrights do eventually expire, but it seems like fewer and fewer people recognize that. Jim writes in to point out the unfortunate example an IP lawyer discovered recently upon visiting the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Despite the fact that the museum normally allows photographs (as long as there's no flash), it would not allow them in a display of artwork by Nicholas Poussin, who died in 1665. When questioned why the "no photography" rule was in place, he was told that it was because of the "copyright" on the artwork. While this is obviously a minor slip-up by a museum guard, it does show that people are becoming accustomed to the idea that copyright lasts forever, which is a serious problem. The more people understand copyright, and why limits on copyright are important, the more likely we are to start to shift the system away from the ridiculous levels it's reached.

Filed Under: copyright, metropolitan museum of art, nicholas poussin

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  1. icon
    Steve R. (profile), 14 Apr 2008 @ 5:35am

    Access to Copyright Work

    A good slippery slope concept. The concept or copyright, as this example demonstrates, is clearly misunderstood. However, there is a greater question at issue here; placing works in the public domain behind a "pay wall". Actually, it could even be a "free wall". The content may be in the public domain, but the public may not have access to it.

    One of my concerns along this line has been the use of DRM/proprietary technologies that restrict access to content. Fast forward 300 years. Will the content created in 2008 that is on CD/DVD/Websites that would now in the public domain be accessible by the public?

    My guess is that the content (DVD/CD/Websites) will magically remain "locked" based on disclosed "technical issues". True, the content may be in the public domain, but the providers of the content won't make it easy for the public to use.

    The good news, I suppose, is that we do have some websites that make it possible to freely use material in the public domain.

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