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Re: [dvd-discuss] Must Copyright terms be uniform?
I think the best argument for uniformity is the difficulty of
defining categories. It might be clear now what constitutes a chip
mask vs. a full length feature movie, but it might not be so clear in
I think one could get the same effect by requiring affirmative action
to renew a copyright, like we had 50 years ago. I would have been
more comfortable with all the copyright duration extensions if there
was a substantial fee (say $100/yr) required to extend a term. Highly
valuable copyrights (Mickey Mouse, Gone With the Wind, etc.) would
see their terms lengthened, but the vast majority of material would
enter the public domain much sooner.
It's hard to undo what has been done in terms of copyright duration
(unless the Eldred case wins). Present copyright holders might claim
a retroactive reduction in term constitutes an illegal taking and
demand compensation from the government. But one way to reduce the
damage might be an opt-out compulsory licensing scheme. The opt out
would require a periodic fee. There would be a standard set of
licensing terms for works that do not opt out.
I'd also like to see a mechanism for donating woks to the public
domain, perhaps reserving rights for high value use, such as a movie
adaptation. The net present value of the copyright might then be
At 8:26 AM -0800 11/5/01, Michael A Rolenz wrote:
> Is there any reason why limited times for copyright material must be
>UNIFORM in duration?
>Leaving aside the maximum duration (120yrs is ridiculous! ). Copyright is
>a burden upon society. Why must that burden extend to 6 generations for
>things that even one generation has discarded? Does anybody make 8086s?,
>8080s, 80386s? 68000s, What of the old 707 op amp? The masks for these
>things all get copyright protection. What of software? DOS2.0 protected
>into the next century? Does everything have to have the same term? I don't
>see why. THe purpose of copyright is to promote progress but at a certain
>point things aren't progressing. I think Prof. Litman is right. For
>digital formats and media not only do we need to go back to what copyright
>should be but also we need to rethink just what it means to copyright and
>for what duration.