Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Copyright Office Considers Reforms

Wired has posted an article concerning Copyright Reform. The U.S. Copyright office is accepting comments on the topic through May 9, 2005. The Office hopes to promote reforms in copyright law, to better accomodate the use of orphan works - and other works which under previous law would have been public domain by now.

This is an important topic. In some cases of the last 10 years even Fair-Use reference to copyright works, such as reviews and journalist commentaries, have been challenged in the courts. This is not the way the founders intended for copyright to be used. The U.S. Constitution references author protection in this way:

"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;" [Ref: U.S. Senate]

Copyright was supposed to *promote* the dissemination of creative works and inspire further works - it was not supposed to restrict it for decades or even for more than a century. Tying up old postcards and abandoned magazines for centuries is not what the framers had in mind.


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