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Copyright Analysis

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Current public policy should create a disincentive for companies to continue their

copyright indefinitely because of the negative externalities explained in this paper. Unlike

many forms of government revenue, generating revenue by disincentivizing activities

with negative externalities is one way for the government to pay for its operations. This is

a far superior way for the government to generate revenue rather than having a tax system

that disincetivizes work.

Below is a suggestion for one such proposal:

A. Free 12-year copyright term for all new works – subject to registration, and all

existing works are renewed as of the passage of the reform legislation. If passed

today this would mean that new works have a copyright until 2024.

B. Elective-12 year renewal (cost 1% of all United States revenue from first 12 years

– which equals all sales).

C. Elective-6 year renewal (cost 3% of revenue from the previous 12 years).

D.Elective-6 year renewal (cost 5% of revenue in previous 6 years).

E. Elective-10 year renewal (10% of ALL overall revenue – fees paid so far).

This proposal would terminate all copyright protection after 46 years. This is obviously a

steep cliff, particularly from the extension of copyright from 36 to 46 years. But the point

is to discourage indefinite copyright.

Conclusion: To be clear, there is a legitimate purpose to copyright (and for that matter patents).

Copyright ensures that there is sufficient incentive for content producers to develop content, but

there is a steep cost to our unusually long copyright period that Congress has now created. Our

Founding Fathers wrote the Constitution with explicit instructions on this matter for a limited

copyright – not an indefinite monopoly. We must strike this careful Goldilocks-like balance for

the consumer and other businesses versus the content producers

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