[B5JMS] attn. JMS: On Length of Copyright

b5jms at cs.columbia.edu b5jms at cs.columbia.edu
Tue Jul 8 04:24:48 EDT 2003

From: eaburns at annotations.com (Eric Alfred Burns)
Date: Sun, 6 Jul 2003 00:58:02 +0000 (UTC)
Lines: 36

jmsatb5 at aol.com (Jms at B5) wrote in message news:<20030704182659.08895.00000100 at mb-m20.aol.com>...
> Corporations earning billions of dollars incorporate overseas and pay zero
> taxes...you and the rest of society are picking up the check on that one. 
> Personally, I'd be more concerned about that than the average novel, which
> earns only a few thousand bucks a year.  There aren't many Steinbecks among us
> right now.  
> So yeah, I do think the period should extend beyond the author's life.  Fifty
> years is a goodly amount of time, but if it were to be peeled back a bit from
> that, say to 20 or 30, I'd be okay with that.

I guess I'm not worried about who's getting the money after the death
of the author -- I'm happier with the money going to the heirs of the
author than anyone else. But there is a question of cultural heritage
here as well. I'd like to think that later generations can draw on the
shared cultural past that came before without legal challenge. Even as
Sherlock Holmes and Hercules today are fair game for new writers to
tackle, one day many years after we're all gone I hope stories of
Captain Ivanova can be told by new writers who look to the literary

And, for that matter, I'd like to see books that might otherwise
disappear entirely get a chance to be added to Project Gutenberg or
Blackmask, so that long after the death of the author they can still
be accessed and discovered by new generations.

Is there a point where a book *should* enter the public domain? Not
because an author shouldn't get paid for his work, but because artists
and writers of later generations should be able to draw upon the past,
and readers of later generations should be able to access the works in
question? Or, in an information age (and an age where corporations own
copyrights instead of authors) is it simply not going to happen? And
perhaps shouldn't happen, for that matter.

From: jmsatb5 at aol.com (Jms at B5)
Date: Mon, 7 Jul 2003 09:03:19 +0000 (UTC)
Lines: 19

>Is there a point where a book *should* enter the public domain?

Ultimately, yeah, I think so.  I think that at some point, a work of art must
pass from the hands of the creator to the hands of the world, so that it can be
remembered and propagated and cherishd.  

What that point in time might be, is what the lawyers are still trying to


(jmsatb5 at aol.com)
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