The Economist On Why Copyright Needs To Return To Its Roots (TechDirt, 20 April 2010). The argument is that the Statute of Queen Anne granted copyrights for only 14 or 21 or 28 years maximum. It was not during the artist/writer’s lifetime. Well, I would like to introduce a nuance here: the life expectation of people was probably at the time around 40 years old. If one writes the book in their twenties and one adds 14 years, that is roughly 34 minimum, so prettry much the author’s lifetime. What is true though, is that the limited period made it impossible to transfer the copyrights to the descendents/heirs.
for life expectancy: http://www.napoleon-series.org/research/abstract/population/vital/c_heights1.html which cites a book
Related to this is the post on TechDirt. The clip is cleverly made, but I am still not convince completely by it. No one has ever been able to copy what one wants without 1) acknowledging the author…, 2) in some cases (commercial use mostly), ask permission from the author. So yes copying can be theft, but not always. “Copying Is Not Theft” (techDirt, 15 April 2010)
Incidentally, acknowledging an author was not an inherent practice to writers. It started when the library of Alexandria opened and started to collect ‘books’. They needed to reference the books and started to enquire about their authors… In parallel, in order to get all the books of the world at the time, the scribs did not hesitate to copy the books without permission and then they would reference them.
See also: “Content Creation Is An Evolutionary Process” (TechDirt, 22 February 2010) and the more recent post: “Innovation By Imitation: Study Shows That Success Comes From Imitation” (TechDirt, 22 April 2010)
and the very interesting comment/analysis of another’s post: “Understanding What’s Scarce And What’s Not...” TechDirt, 09 February 2010
The Library of Congress seems to want to save all Twitter feeds on the grounds that ordinary people participate, giving historians a unique insight into day-to-day moods and understanding of issues. Not bad, but I wonder to which extent: it violates privacy, it is that useful for historians. Library Of Congress To Store Your Inane Twitter Chatter For All Eternity (TechDirt, 16 April 2010)