Copyright & OOP

“Falling out of print is a book’s natural fate. We can belatedly train ourselves to believe that this will happen to other people’s books. What’s hard is for writers to believe it will happen to their own.

“Consider, then, the duration of copyrights. Given the range of human lifespans and the extreme rarity of prepubescent authors, you can pretty much figure that by the time a 95-year copyright runs out, the author will be dead and gone, and any offspring will have reached their majority. Somewhere in there, copyright stops being about directly rewarding an author for his work. What’s left is an intangible time-travelling value: the hope of being read.

“This is why it pains me to hear respectable minor authors going on about how the extension of copyright to life of the author plus 70 years is a victory for the little guy. It isn’t, unless by “little guy” you mean the heirs of the author’s ex-spouse’s step-grandchildren by her third marriage.”

Making Light. The Life Expectancies of Books. Jan. 27, 2006.

See also:

John Goodridge. Poor Clare. Guardian. July 22, 2000. (“John Clare enthusiasts are up in arms over an American academic’s claim to own copyright of the poet’s works unpublished in his lifetime. John Goodridge reports on the battle over a great literary legacy.”)

CopyCense™: K. Matthew Dames on the intersection of business, law and technology. A business venture of Seso Digital LLC.

Written by sesomedia

02/06/2006 at 08:49

Posted in Uncategorized

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