Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Exclusive for 90 Years

Intellectual property rights are intended to encourage creators (inventor and authors) to create. The idea is that we give the creators exclusive rights to make money from their creations and they will spend more effort in creating them. It seems to work pretty well in the patent world. An inventor has 20 years to earn an income from his invention.

Authors get 90 years. Few authors even live 90 years beyond their publication date. How can this be a good idea? Sure, it may be good for the author but how is it good for society? (...and if it isn't good for society, why would society enforce it?) The lawyers' claim is that the ability to make money will ensure that the books stay in print and are accessible.

This does not match my idea of common sense. When works are out of copyright, they will be cheaper. Also, other writers can use parts of the work or make new creations around it: write a screenplay, use poetry as lyrics or incorporate segments of video. A new generation of creators can create without the cost or legal confusion of navigating copyright. Evidence says that my intuition is right and the lawyers are wrong.

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