Originally Posted by tompe
Sure, but the original motivation for paying was to try to stimulate creation.
Sort of. The original motivation for paying was to encourage distribution of existing works, not necessarily to stimulate more. The motivation for continued copy protections was to stimulate creation.
When they were first set up, those protections went to publishers, on the theory that they were the best agents to stimulate creation. A bit later, in the US, the theory was that the artists and authors themselves should get the protections.
With no copyright, authors would have to decide if they'd be better off financially by distributing widely, and hoping people enjoyed their works enough to pay for them--or locking their works down to restricted viewers, who are only allowed access after signing a complex NDA contract.
Or potentially: release the first half of a novel widely and freely. Charge money, and make people sign a contract, to read the ending.
I never understand the "get rid of copyright!!!!" activists. Copyright law has some serious problems and needs a big overhaul, but it sticks around because it works much better than anything we had before.