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
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Apr 2008 @ 11:57pm

    Re: more questions

    Suppose I spend 10 years of my life writing the great American novel, or Harry Potter, or Lord of the Rings. I decide to let my friend read it by lending him my flash drive. My friend sees its brilliance and without my knowledge or consent he publishes the book under his own name and becomes the richest man in the UK.

    Without copyright, what is my recourse? How could it possibly be fair that he gains so much from my hard work?
    Well, according to what you previously wrote copyright protection shouldn't even apply in this case because your friend didn't "buy" it and thus agree to your "contract" in the first place. Make up your mind because you don't seem to have any idea what you're talking about.

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