Posted by Stephen M. Nipper at September 8, 2005 11:08 PM
I realize that I am just a lowly patent attorney, but I have a copyright question I don't know the answer to. It's a doozie. It is such a doozie that I'm already cringing from the backlash and grief this post is going to cause me.
Patents are clearly a bargain. You tell the world "how" you did it (so we can learn from your great knowledge and invent our own improvements) and we'll give you a limited (in time) monopoly. Without this "trade," you'd keep it as a trade secret and society would never benefit from the knowledge. THAT I get. It makes perfectly good sense to me.
Copyrights...I don't get. Where's the bargain? Why again do we have copyright terms? I'm serious...I can't figure it out. I'm all for rewarding "authors" for their creations. I don't have a problem with copyrights themselves...what I am saying is (this is the doozie part), why do we need to have copyrights NOT be perpetual (renewable)? Is it so 70 years, 80 years, 90 years, or whatever time frame Congress creates in the future, someone will be able to sell $1.00 DVDs of crusty old films that no one wants to watch at Wal-Mart?
Oh, I'm sure this will drive certain people absolutely nuts. I'm not saying this to push your buttons...I seriously don't get it. Explain it to me...(comments and trackbacks are open).