The first man who, having enclosed a piece of ground, bethought himself of saying "This is mine", and found people simple enough to believe him, was the real founder of civil society. From how many crimes, wars and murders, from how many horrors and misfortunes might not anyone have saved mankind, by pulling up the stakes, or filling up the ditch, and crying to his fellows, "Beware of listening to this impostor; you are undone if you once forget that the fruits of the earth belong to us all, and the earth itself to nobody." ~Jean Jacques Rousseau, A Discourse on the Origin of Inequality
Intellectual property has the shelf life of a banana. ~Bill Gates
Whenever there is a conflict between human rights and property rights, human rights must prevail. ~Abraham Lincoln
I'm leaning toward "life of the author, plus 10 or 20 years if the rights are willed to a spouse or offspring". If the copyright is owned by a corporation, the term should be shorter. Say, 40 or 50 years. That should be enough to get nearly all the commercial value out of nearly all works.
U.S. Patents, at least as they apply to software, seem to have a few inherent flaws that I believe override any theoretical basis for for the 'good' they are supposed to provide.
Why should there be a difference between author/offspring and a corporation?
I am interested in this because I routinely deal with organizations that are having trouble with software they use that was purchased decades ago, and the original (and sometimes second and third generation) hardware is failing
My suspicion is that if software copyrights were short enough to only cover extracting most (say > 95%) of the commercial value; then something like project gutenburg would be set up for older software...
QuoteWhy should there be a difference between author/offspring and a corporation?Partly for a reason you've already mentioned: that works produced by organizations skew toward the type with a shorter commercial lifespan. Partly because individuals tend to be less able to extract the commercial value quickly, and more likely to need that last few percent of royalties. And partly because individuals are less likely to file suits based on dubious claims of infringement.I'm using fuzzy language like "tend to" because I recognize that there are exceptions (like a lot of Disney Corp's old cartoons), but I think the ideas I laid out would form a good starting point for debates to arrive at hard and fast rules.
QuoteMy suspicion is that if software copyrights were short enough to only cover extracting most (say > 95%) of the commercial value; then something like project gutenburg would be set up for older software...I agree, but I see a potential big debate (and, doubtless, years of litigation) over whether, e.g., the CGI for Avatar is "art" or "software".