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The Pernicious Impact of Long Copyright Terms

January 8, 2010 20:38:32.876

Rogers Cadenhead goes into depth about the loss of a dead friend's online works - the friend's heirs don't have any interest in letting the material be archived. Their reason's aren't what interests me here - it's this:

For works created on the web, however, the only thing keeping them around is an active publisher or a copyright license that permits others to reprint the material. A copyright holder who wanted a web site to disappear completely could take it offline, demand its removal from all archives and never allow republication. Leslie's work will not begin passing into the public domain until 2065.

Think about how far out that is - no one who knew the person he's talking about will be around then. The lesson here, to me, is simple: the term for copyright is just too long. As it stands now, copyright law protects the interests of the big players, and works against the interests of the rest of us.

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posted by James Robertson

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