I usually try not to bring my own personal opinion on issues to this blog.
However, I recently saw this picture that made me rethink this policy. For those that don’t click on the link, the picture is titled “The cost of piracy.” It isn’t talking about Somalia, but is rather talking about copyright piracy. In the same week that Air France stated it would give the family members of each victim of the recent crash $24,000.00, a court in Minnesota decided to punish a mother it found to be committing copyright infringement $80,000.00 per downloaded song. In other words – one human life = $24,000.00; a copy of a song = $80,000.00.
Now I am all for copyright policies. However, it is time to make sure that copyright is given its proper place in society. The Founding Fathers determined that copyright should be for a limited time. Maybe I don’t know what I am talking about, but considering the chances of me being alive when the copyright expires on Britney Spears’ new album are slim to none, I don’t think that our current policy is anything close to “a limited time”.
People deserve to profit from what they create. However, if copyright exists on a work 70 years AFTER the death of the author of the work, it stifles creativity. One only need to look at works being created on the internet to see that thousands of works have been or could be created which enhance our ideas about humanity, morality, politics, art, and thousands of other areas. Some are as simple as a child dancing to a song in the background (for which under our current law, copyright infringement was alleged) to something like a book adding zombies to Pride and Prejudice (a book which was no longer protected under copyright law).
Copyright policy must weigh the interest of the author and the interest of creativity of the rest of society. It must give authors a way to profit and society a way to incorporate the ideas of those around them during their lifetime.