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Debates Forum

Debates Forum

  1. Standard member spruce112358
    Democracy Advocate
    08 Jul '09 21:01
    Copyright protections have been extended shamefully due to a phenomenon that Milton Friedman summarized in "Free to Choose".

    Year_________Length of Copyright
    1790________14 years (same as a patent) + 14 year extension
    1831________28 years + 14 year extension
    1909________28 years + 28 year extension
    1976________life of the author + 50 years OR
    _____________75 years for anonymous/work for hire
    1998________life of the author + 70 years OR
    _____________95-120 years for anonymous/work for hire

    The last bill was also known as the Mickey Mouse Protection Act because Disney lobbied heavily for it. By comparion, the term of patents were established at 14 years in 1790, and today stand at only 20 years.

    Milton Friedman argued against such government regulation, saying it tends to increase costs because much of the time, the only people influencing regulations are the minority who stand to make a profit. Since the rest of us do not take time to go to hearings, government regulators tend to be swayed by the arguments that are pounded into their heads day after day while the rest of us are at work. When regulators don't hear any counter-arguments, bingo! the people pay the price.

    So now we have the shameful situation that people who invent useful things like light bulbs and cures for cancer stand to profit far less from their contributions than people who sing or pen or prance.

    By the way, if you think the same phenomenon is not going on with the current health care legislation -- think again.
  2. Standard member sh76
    Civis Americanus Sum
    09 Jul '09 01:50
    Originally posted by spruce112358
    Copyright protections have been extended shamefully due to a phenomenon that Milton Friedman summarized in "Free to Choose".

    Year_________Length of Copyright
    1790________14 years (same as a patent) + 14 year extension
    1831________28 years + 14 year extension
    1909________28 years + 28 year extension
    1976________life of the author + 50 years OR
    _ ...[text shortened]... the same phenomenon is not going on with the current health care legislation -- think again.
    The point about the difference in time between a patent and a copyright is an interesting one. I think one reason for a distinction is that a copyrighted work cannot really be a necessity or something necessary to maintain commerce.

    A patent is for a device, such as a drug or process. People might need patented goods; such as drugs or machines that aid in commerce in other ways.

    So, whereas patents do hurt commerce and deprive people of what might be necessities, copyrights really do not. Maybe that's the reason for the distinction.