Sunday, February 21, 2010

Public Knowledge's 5-point plan for copyright reform

Public Knowledge has released a five-point plan for copyright reform that they intend to be the basis of a legislative proposal. The pillars of this plan are:

1) strengthen fair use, including reforming outrageously high statutory damages, which deter innovation and creativity;

2) reform the DMCA to permit circumvention of digital locks for lawful purposes;

3) update the limitations and exceptions to copyright protection to better conform with how digital technologies work;

4) provide recourse for people and companies who are recklessly accused of copyright infringement and who are recklessly sent improper DMCA take-down notices; and

5) streamline arcane music licensing laws to encourage new and better business models for selling music.

Before anything, though, else we need a shorter copyright term. I would consider duration to be implicit in point 3, limitations on copyright. But it is not clear that the folks at Public Knowledge think so. In this article, for example, under "What are the limits of copyright?", they mention only limitations on copyright's scope-- fair use and first sale. Duration is mentioned under the heading "why do we have copyright?" So it seems that the folks at public knowledge don't consider a shorter term of copyright to be part of their 5-point plan, even implicitly. What a disappointment.


j purdie said...

As the entertainment industry knows you only get the laws you pay for.

I do agree that the copyright period should be shortened. Death plus five or six years to allow existing deals to run their course. I've asked before: why should dead people get paid?

Wizard Prang said...

One way to solve the problem is to make copyright back into a privilege.

Copyright terms on all movies should be reduced to five years with paid-for renewals - say $100,000 for five years of a movie.

This would make a studio think about whether it is worth keeping copyright on a movie - if you can't make $20k/year on it, it is time to let it go.