Originally Posted by Ralph Sir Edward
Pre-Berne (1978) in the US, if you wanted a copyright you had to file for it, (just like making a claim on a piece of property), so that everyone could see that this piece of Intellectual Property was defined (you submitted a copy so there was no question what piece of I.P. was involved) and reserved for private economic use. Nowadays I can't just pitch out a Red story, and know it's going to fall into the public domain. I have to stamp Public Domain on it!, just so that cheap people can have I.P. lottery tickets!
The problem isn't with stories, which maybe should be copyrighted without a registration requirement. (I'm fond of the "attach a copyright notice to the work & it's copyrighted" approach.) The problem is that every letter, email, forum comment & greeting card inscription is now copyrighted for L+70; you can't *archive* our culture without tripping over copyright law.
Nevermind the books and paintings and photographs, which could, presumably, be in the marketplace earning their creators some money. It's the kids' sketches on refrigerators which are un-copyable for another 150 years that are the problem. It's the margin notes teachers make on homework, which can't be included in a book about modern education without getting permission from each & every teacher. It's the funny office memos that nobody knows or cares who wrote--except now, sharing it around requires a name and permission, and nobody wants to admit to writing "10 ways a toilet is better than my boss."