Originally Posted by corroonb
Is reading a public domain book morally equivalent to copyright infringement? Not legally of course but you are benefiting from the writer's labour but paying nothing for that labour? Why shouldn't his descendants benefit?
Why should there be any limit to copyright at all?
If it's morally wrong to benefit from an author's labour without paying while they're living, why does them dying make a difference (or more absurdly being dead for 100 years)?
And the idea behind copyright, patents, etc, was always that you had a limited monopoly over something, so that you could generate income to further your pursuit. Ideally you would make something, make money, and then invest that money into making something else. It was to be limited, to give incentive to keep working, and so that others could benefit as well (learn from your research, make improvements, create derivative works, etc.)
If copyright was indefinite, or infinite, what incentive would you have to keep producing more works? Also, for your offspring, what incentive do they have to do anything either? There have been many cases of this happening. I mean, look at Adrian and Dennis Conan Doyle. They were known as playboys, who lived off their father's works and name, just milking the family estate. Of the kids, the only one who had done anything of note was the daughter Jean, who retired as an Air Commandant (highest rank possible at the time) after 30 years in the WRAF.
Also, it has only been in more recent times that the length on copyright has really expanded past the lifetime of the creator. Originally, US copyright law allowed for 14 year term length, with a single renewal period of 14 years, only if the creator was still alive. Patents more recently have been lengthened, and they're only at 20 years now. Should I patent anything and die, what real benefit would it be to keep paying my children years down the line. They did not put any effort into my work, they may not even have the ability to do anything with my work or create anything of their own. Copyrights are largely the same. If I, the content creator, die, then it is not guaranteed that anyone I am related to has the ability to create. The founding fathers of the US understood this, and that is why the constitution states
The Congress shall have power...To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries;
. A perpetual copyright, that goes to others long past the death of the creator, does nothing to promote science or useful arts. Plus, one of the things that have been happening in more recent times, is that there have been companies whose sole purpose is to buy patents and copyrights, in order to sue others who they believe have infringed upon those patents and copyrights. These companies never create anything, and usually don't even come to agreements with others so that others may create works based on them. They exist simply to sue others, and that is how they generate their capital.
So, again, why is longer or infinite copyrights good?