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What modern copyright law means to our culture

What does it mean to our culture that we have imposed the most draconian restrictions on the reuse of intellectual creations than at any other time?

By Kristopher A. Nelson in

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Mickey Mouse in Steamboat Willie (1928)
Image via Wikipedia

What does it mean to our culture that we have imposed the most draconian restrictions on the reuse of intellectual creations than at any other time?

1. We are the first generation to deny our own culture to ourselves.

2. No work created during your lifetime will, without conscious action by its creator, become available for you to build upon.

via The Public Domain in 2 Twitter sized bits.. | The Public Domain.

Mike Masnick at Techdirt adds to this:

For people who don’t recognize the importance of the public domain and the nature of creativity, perhaps this seems like no big deal. But if you look back through history, you realize what an incredibly big deal it is — and how immensely stifling this is on our culture. And then you realize this is all done under a law whose sole purpose is to “promote the progress” and you begin to wonder how this happened.

via Copyright Length And The Life Of Mickey Mouse | Techdirt.

The changes and restrictions of copyright are unprecedented. Yet our technological progress — and cultural output, at least — has grown exponentially over time, even as our IP restrictions have increased. Is there a correlation or connection?

I believe over-restrictive copyright hampers innovation, but I also believe it’s not a simple equation. It’s about balance, and I’m looking for evidence to find the “sweet spot” that balances the rights of creators with the utility to end-users.