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, 15 Apr 2008 @ 2:04pm

    Re: Copyrights should be limited

    Given that we've found some common ground on the out-of-balance way copyright is now implemented (I would say "Unconstitutional way copyright is implemented", but that's a discussion for another day), I'd ask you to consider taking the NEXT step advocated on this site.

    Namely, the realization that you may be able to DO BETTER by giving up your STRICT copyright controls and making your material "more free". I would point you to the career of Cory Doctorow as an example of a fellow writer that has embraced this concept.

    Given that you say you have to go back to flipping burgers, anyway, it would seem that the old maxim is true that obscurity is a greater threat to your career as a writer than is piracy -- what would you have to lose by embracing one of the many business models to pay for your writing career advocated on this site?

    Note that I, personally, would be glad to pay you (a reasonable price) out of my own hard-earned money for a book full of your words, as I often do when I am able to buy a DVD, CD, book, painting or other artwork sold directly to me by the artist(s) (usually local artists in my case, though there are some indie film makers whose movies I have purchased that can be bought directly from the artists' websites).

    I will NOT, however, spend my money to support the lobbying efforts of industries intent on ruining the "Progess of Science and the Useful Arts" by locking all thoughts, ideas, and expressions of ideas away behind a DRMed-to-last-forever pay wall.

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