ETERNAL COPYRIGHT: A MODEST PROPOSAL
At the Daily Telegraph, Adrian Hon, Founder of the online games company Six to Start, writes a modest proposal providing an answer to the controversies over copyright, remixing, piracy, filesharing, etc: eternal copyright. In 1710, the Statue of Anne decreed that the term of copyright last from 14 – 28 years. In the 300 years since, that term has only increased to 70 years from the death of the author. Swift implementation of an eternal copyright law would not only spur creative innovation but redress societal wrongs. From the piece:
Imagine you’re a new parent at 30 years old and you’ve just published a bestselling new novel. Under the current system, if you lived to 70 years old and your descendants all had children at the age of 30, the copyright in your book – and thus the proceeds – would provide for your children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great-grandchildren.
But what, I ask, about your great-great-great-grandchildren? What do they get? How can our laws be so heartless as to deny them the benefit of your hard work in the name of some do-gooding concept as the “public good”, simply because they were born a mere century and a half after the book was written? After all, when you wrote your book, it sprung from your mind fully-formed, without requiring any inspiration from other creative works – you owe nothing at all to the public. And what would the public do with your book, even if they had it? Most likely, they’d just make it worse.
No, it’s clear that our current copyright law is inadequate and unfair. We must move to Eternal Copyright – a system where copyright never expires, and a world in which we no longer snatch food out of the mouths of our creators’ descendants. With eternal copyright, the knowledge that our great-great-great-grandchildren and beyond will benefit financially from our efforts will no doubt spur us on to achieve greater creative heights than ever seen before.
Read the entire piece for more of Hon’s proposal, including its implications on Hans Christian Anderson, Shakespeare and the Bible.