A 14-Year Copyright Works for Me

Online Music Cyberlaw

Actually I’d prefer less. Those who have read this blog for any period of time probably know two things about me.

1) I write books. Those books are published by a publisher and are sold in a store near you. (Or at least on Amazon).

2) I don’t like copyright laws. Maybe “don’t like” isn’t a strong enough word. I hate them. I loath them. I feel shovels-ful of repugnance toward them. I feel that they do a better job of protecting the interests of publishers and music labels, not the artists. They keep valuable, worthwhile, and useful material out of the hands of people who could really benefit from it. These laws bind the hands instead of freeing the mind.

So when I came across this article, written by Cambridge University PhD candidate Rufus Pollock, I couldn’t help but share. The gist of the article is that “(a) optimal protection decreases as the cost of production falls (and vice-versa); and (b) the level of optimal protection, in general, declines over time. ”

Pollock argues that since production costs have gone down, the length of copyright protection should also go down. Isn’t the purpose of copyright law to ensure that publishers (oh yeah, and I guess we can throw artists and authors in there too) make a return on their investment? Nobody would spend the money to record music or print a book unless there was some hope that they could get that money back. But as copying, distribution and production costs fall, copyright laws have only increase and been extended.

In his conclusion, Pollock argues that the optimal copyright term is 14 years. That’s a little shorter than the “life plus 70 years” (for individuals) that we currently have.

As a published author, I’d personally love to see a 14 year copyright law on the books. Heck, I’d love to see a 14-month copyright law, but I’ll take what I can get.

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