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Posted by Boghound on August 7, 2012

US Copyright Term Will be Restored Back to 28 Years

Under the US copyright law, the term for your right over your work is indefinite as long as you are alive. Meanwhile, an online petition is going to change that.

The petition in question is already available on White House’s official site, and aims to gather 25.000 signatures in order to restore the term of copyright back to 28 years. Thus far, the petition managed to gather over 2.000 signatures in just 24 hours.

The petition says that an initial copyright duration was initially established as 28 years, but then was repeatedly extended to up to 120 years. This was done to favor such corporations as Disney and Sony along with authors’ descendants at the expense of the public. However, such durations ignore the Constitution’s requirement saying that copyrights should be for limited times and encourage progress in science and arts. In reality, they are doing the opposite thing, inhibiting scientific progress by restricting the free flow of data and preventing global digital libraries. In other words, the durations are withholding data that future generations need to freely exchange and build upon. At the same time, the original copyright duration would provide ample incentive for the entities and authors to create, so the creators of the petition asked the President to urge Congress to pass a bill which would restore copyrights to 28 years.

Lawrence Lessing, an American academic and political activist, has written a book on this issue, providing a comprehensive analysis on how creativity relies on the past. He explains that the creations of the past should be used as “bricks” for future projects. By the way, many supported his point of view: indeed, past’s influence in the artistic sector is undeniable.

Nevertheless, the American copyright legislation isn’t at all encouraging creativity, but instead considers everything as being original. Industry experts agree that it is time copyright laws actually reflected the modern era. The only entities to have such long copyright terms (in the United States, for instance, it is life + 70 years) are large multi-national corporations. However, it clearly doesn’t benefit society, choking off whatever little creativity is left in the world. Everyone who shares this point of view is free to sign the petition online.


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