Clay Shirky says: The first thing, a precursor to whatever the new bargain is, is to abandon copyright maximalism, the doctrine that says that the only rationale for copyright (or intellectual property, generally) is to give businesses the right to rent-extraction over the population. Copyright law, as rationalized since the Statute of Anne in Great Britain in 1710, has always had significant provisions for the value to the public for creative work, and ideas like limited duration, required library deposit, and the public domain were part of the bargain from the beginning.
That balance has been all but destroyed—in the United States, copyright has effectively become infinite, because every time works from the early 1920s start coming to the end of their term, Hollywood gets Congress to extend the term. So I am somewhat impatient with this idea that “something must be done” in the short term, as if there was a technical or legal fix to a system with a broken model. What we need is a government willing to say “Copyright is and has always been a bargain between creating a market for creative work to create incentives, and creating a cultural commons to create value for the citizens,” and then start reasoning about how such a bargain will be worked out in a world with an Internet. November 14, 2012 at 07:44PM