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. identicon
    Reverend Joe, 14 Apr 2008 @ 5:31pm

    Re: Constitution

    Oh, and one other important note: it seems a recurring theme that those from your industry always seems to skip right over the first (and, to me, most important) part of the Progress Clause, in order to make it seem LESS like copyright is an OPTION for Congress to implement, as it really IS, and MORE like an OBLIGATION (which it really ISN'T):

    The Congress shall have the power . . . To Promote the Progress of Science and the useful Arts by securing for limited times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries.

    You may wish to pay particular attention to the fact that "shall have the power ... To" and "is required ... To" have COMPLETELY different meanings in this context.

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