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View Poll Results: What would be a good copyright duration?
Current duration is fine (Death+70 years) 4 3.81%
Death + 25 years 24 22.86%
Death 14 13.33%
50 years 26 24.76%
30 years 12 11.43%
15 years 15 14.29%
Copyright has become irrelevant and should be canceled 10 9.52%
Voters: 105. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 07-11-2008, 04:14 PM   #1
Trenien
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Duration of copyright poll.

The title says it all. What would you consider a reasonable copyright period be?

It's to be considered from first publication.

The last option is NOT some kind of provocation. In most of Asia - especially China - this was the standard before the WTC pressured them into having copyright laws (and they're still mostly working with this frame of mind).

Last edited by Trenien; 07-11-2008 at 04:21 PM.
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Old 07-11-2008, 04:16 PM   #2
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The title says it all. What would you consider a reasonable copyright period be?
I'll go with Macauleys propostion and what the law had been for a long time, 40 years from publish date.

BOb

EDIT: Changed to 40 years, Macauleys actually had said 42, 28 + 14renewal being the original term.

Last edited by pilotbob; 07-11-2008 at 06:00 PM.
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Old 07-11-2008, 04:42 PM   #3
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i would have voted for 40 years, based on Eric Flint's article "Copyright : How long should it be ?" (which is itself based on Macauley's propositions), but since that wasn't an option i voted for 50.
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Old 07-11-2008, 04:49 PM   #4
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I'd consider death of the creator, with one caveat: That any financial dependents/immediate family members, if unable to take care of themselves through age (old or young) or infirmity, would continue to draw copyright until they were either of legal age to make their own living, established another source of income, or died.

That means the wife of a creator could draw upon it if the creator died before her, until she died or established other significant income, and a pre-adult would draw the income until they were a legal adult.

Anyone who was outside of the creator's circle of financial dependence would not be able to draw copyright upon the creator's death.

(I personally see this as a good arrangement for patents, as well.)
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Old 07-11-2008, 04:54 PM   #5
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I said death plus 25 so as to give heirs benefit after death of the copyright holder. *But* that's for individuals, for copyrights held in corporations aka Disney I vote 50 years from date of first publication.
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Old 07-11-2008, 04:54 PM   #6
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I don't know if one exists, but I'd like to see a graph of typical remuneration to authors in the years following publication of a book.
I'd assume, for most books, the returns from a particular work dwindle to practically nothing within 10 years (obviously there will be exceptions, and different types of work have different life spans) - I'd go with whatever average timescale gave authors 95% of the total return they could expect.
(The remaining 5% could take decades to accrue.)
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Old 07-11-2008, 05:25 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Jordan View Post
I'd consider death of the creator, with one caveat: That any financial dependents/immediate family members, if unable to take care of themselves through age (old or young) or infirmity, would continue to draw copyright until they were either of legal age to make their own living, established another source of income, or died.
Too complicated.

Since the purpose of copyright is to give the author a way to make money off the work he did, giving any rights to descendants makes no sense.
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Old 07-11-2008, 05:29 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sparrow View Post
I don't know if one exists, but I'd like to see a graph of typical remuneration to authors in the years following publication of a book.
I'd assume, for most books, the returns from a particular work dwindle to practically nothing within 10 years (obviously there will be exceptions, and different types of work have different life spans) - I'd go with whatever average timescale gave authors 95% of the total return they could expect.
(The remaining 5% could take decades to accrue.)
Sparrow : i think you'd find the Eric Flint article i linked to in my first post (just up the page) very interesting reading. it addresses most of the things you're wondering about.
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Old 07-11-2008, 05:32 PM   #9
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I think death+30 is good.
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Old 07-11-2008, 05:35 PM   #10
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I try to limit the number of people that would financially benefit from my death... so if I were an author I'd rather have it tied to the publication date rather then my death.
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Old 07-11-2008, 05:40 PM   #11
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I try to limit the number of people that would financially benefit from my death... so if I were an author I'd rather have it tied to the publication date rather then my death.
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Old 07-11-2008, 05:46 PM   #12
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I like a flat 50 years. Even if an author is 21 when his first book is published and is still living when it goes out of copyright, it is highly likely that he has written more books in the intervening 50 years and has potential income from those works.

But the decision shouldn't be based entirely on financial considerations. If an author writes only crappy novels, they're not going to make him or his estate any money if they stayed in copyright for 125 years!

One wants the protection for her intellectual property for a reasonable period of time -- and a chance for financial gain during such time if the work is of high quality and/or high public appeal. (We all know that an established author can make LOTS of money with a dismal product, and some excellent works just don't sell because they don't catch the eye of the consumer.)

I'm impressed by the authors who generously encourage others to write fan fiction set in the worlds that they have created. Several authors have been able to sell their original works after getting a start this way.
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Old 07-11-2008, 05:47 PM   #13
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Sparrow : i think you'd find the Eric Flint article i linked to in my first post (just up the page) very interesting reading. it addresses most of the things you're wondering about.
Thanks Zelda - it was indeed very interesting. He makes a lot of sensible points, and he knows a lot more about the publishing world than I do - so, yep, I'd go with his 40 year suggestion.
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Old 07-11-2008, 06:04 PM   #14
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I'll go with Macauleys propostion and what the law had been for a long time, 40 years from publish date.

Ok, I'm going to revise. 40 years from publish date OR until the authors death, whichever comes later.

This would provide plenty of ability for the author to get paid for his work. It would also allow for a very simple way of determining if a work was still copyrighted... you only need to answer two questions...

1. What was the published date?
2. Is the author still alive? (which can be hard at times to answer.)

(I answered 30 in the poll since 40 wasn't an option.)

BOb
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Old 07-11-2008, 06:49 PM   #15
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Too complicated.

Since the purpose of copyright is to give the author a way to make money off the work he did, giving any rights to descendants makes no sense.
Too complicated to administer, perhaps, but not "making no sense."

Copyrights are property. The holder of the property has the right to dispose of it as desired, including passing it along to designated heirs specified in a will. If the property has value and is producing income, the question becomes even more acute.

Let's say you are married with kids, and are the breadwinner for your family. Let's further say that you earn the bread as a writer. You have a novel on the best seller list. You die unexpectedly. What happens to the income?

Under your theory, the rights to the book have just become non-existent. what happens to the income earned by it? A publisher could theoretically say "It's now in the public domain, so we are under no obligation to pay further royalties to the family of the deceased. We can keep the money and add it to our bottom line."

Somehow, I'm not sure that's what you have in mind.

Copyright laws originally assumed the form they have now to protect the rights of the author and the author's direct descendants. They've been extended to protect the interest of corporations that now own some rights, and don't want to see them enter the public domain, (Think DisneyCo and Mickey Mouse...)

The simplest solution I see is a "Life+X years" copyright for an individual, but a different sort of rights for a business, that won't simply die. From where I sit, Disney is welcome to perpetual rights on Mickey and friends. I'm just not happy about the process they use to obtain them leading to a situation where nothing else ever comes out of copyright, either.
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Last edited by DMcCunney; 07-11-2008 at 09:55 PM.
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