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Re: [dvd-discuss] [openlaw] Government takes more extreme lineinsecond"Eldred" case
- To: dvd-discuss(at)cyber.law.harvard.edu
- Subject: Re: [dvd-discuss] [openlaw] Government takes more extreme lineinsecond"Eldred" case
- From: <jerwin(at)gmu.edu>
- Date: Fri, 11 Jan 2002 12:06:25 -0500
- Reply-to: dvd-discuss(at)cyber.law.harvard.edu
- Sender: owner-dvd-discuss(at)cyber.law.harvard.edu
I'd actually suggest looking at the original Landes/Posner article. (Try
a hard copy-- I'm sure that Lexis-Nexis has managed to mangle
the calculus equations in the first segment of the article.)
What Landes and Posner actually says is this.
"The present term [life + 50] may seem both too long--the author who
publishes a work at age 30 and dies at age 80 has one hundred years of
copyright protection, and even in the unlikely event that the work will
generate a substantial income in the one hundredth year, the present
value of that expectation will be virtually zero, and arbitrary in
making the term of copyright depend on the author's longevity. But maybe
the term is neither too long nor arbitrary. A point stressed in the
legistive history of the 1976 act is that, by making the death of the
author the determining date for copyright protection, "all of the
authors works, including successive revisions of them would fall into
the public domain at the same time, thus avoiding the present problems
of determining a multiple of publication dates and distinguishing "old"
from "new" matter in later editions." And we know that bequest motives
play a role in people's decision to work, save, and so on, and those
motives depend on the altruistic feelings that people have, primarily
for members of their family, including descendants. This feeling is
attenuated with regard to remote descedants, but the fifty year term
after death cuts them off."
As for their assertion that
"...This trend [towards longer copyright terms] is consistent with the
fact that the cost of copying has fallen over this period, we showed
earlier that the lower the cost of copying, the greater the optimal
scope of copyright protection,"
I am not so familiar with economics, and did not bother to follow their
From a brief gloss of the article, though, it would seem that while
retroactively extending the scope of copyright for living authors is
convenient, doing the same for deceased authors entails some additional
bookkeeping costs and offers no realistic benefit to the original
creator. Perhaps someone more familiar with legal economic arguments
might look at the piece-- the government's interpretation of the
arguments seems shaky
----- Original Message -----
From: "Michael A Rolenz" <Michael.A.Rolenz@aero.org>
Date: Friday, January 11, 2002 11:13 am
Subject: Re: [dvd-discuss] [openlaw] Government takes more extreme line
> The fallacy of that argument is that "recouping" expenses or making
> profit from copyright is not constitutionally mandated.
> Jolley <email@example.com>
> Sent by: firstname.lastname@example.org
> 01/10/02 10:01 PM
> Please respond to dvd-discuss
> To: email@example.com
> Subject: Re: [dvd-discuss] [openlaw] Government
> takes more extreme line
> insecond"Eldred" case
> After being thrown off the term extension track onto the piracy track
> about a dozen times while reading the government's brief, I began to
> wonder why are they making such a big stink about piracy. Then I
> As infringement becomes easier, the potential for authors
> to lose out on the benefits of their creations becomes more
> serious, and the value of copyright protection goes down.
> See William M. Landes & Richard A. Posner, An Economic Analysis
> of Copyright Law, 18 J. Legal Stud. 325, 363 (1989). One way
> of correcting for the declining value of a copyright is to
> lengthen its term. The longer a copyright exists, the longer
> an author may exploit his work, and the better chance he has
> to recoup his expenses.
> The brief associates strongly the ease of infringement (piracy) with
> improvements in technology.
> Reading the government's brief makes it sound like the introduction of
> VCRs and DVDs was a death blow to the movie industry, CD players
> destroyed the music industry, and high quality copiers ran the
> publishing industry out of business. Is there really less profit when
> technology improves? Using the government's logic, if it can be shown
> that the copyright industry has improved their profits as new
> technology has been introduced then copyright terms should be reduced.
> The CTEA didn't meet its objective!
> If an author can't recoup his expenses 70 years after he's dead I
> don'tthink he's going to recoup them given another 25.
> > Read the government brief and Golan's reply at
> > <" target="l">http://openlaw.org/golanvashcroft/>