Thursday, October 8, 2009

Shorter copyright would free creativity; Guardian, 10/7/09

Victor Keegan, Guardian; Shorter copyright would free creativity:

"Disney made its early money by reworking ideas in the public domain such as Cinderella and the fairytales of the brothers Grimm – themselves collectors rather than originators of folk tales. It then turned turtle and used copyright to boost profits without having to do anything. But suppose copyright had been restricted to 20 years, as for patents?...

If we want to nurture Britain's amazing creative talents then we must have much shorter copyrights to bring into the public domain millions of orphaned books to reduce prices and to enable music, books and films to be enjoyed and reworked by others. In Shakespeare's time, when there was no protection for copyright at all, writers stole passages and ideas from each other. Today's copyright laws would have suffocated much Elizabethan and Jacobean creativity. Artists who claim that income from books and records is their pension are deluded. The vast majority of income from books and records comes immediately after publication."

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