Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Saturday, January 25, 2003

An editorial in Thursday's Economist argues for a 14 year copyright term, renewable once, the rule in force at the time of the adoption of the U.S. constitution. This victory for the public domain should be balanced by a victory for the content industry in the form of strong DRM backed by laws prohibiting its circumvention. After conceding that both sides in today's copyright wars have merit (piracy is harming the content industry, but the response is harming the public domain), the editorial makes this argument: "Over the past 50 years, as a result of heavy lobbying by content industries, copyright has grown to such ludicrous proportions that it now often inhibits rather than promotes the circulation of ideas....Starting from scratch today, no rational, disinterested lawmaker would agree to copyrights that extend to 70 years after an author's death, now the norm in the developed world....The flood of free content on the internet has shown that most creators do not need incentives that stretch across generations. To reward those who can attract a paying audience, and the firms that support them, much shorter copyrights would be enough."