Oh, hey, when it works, I’m digging this spotify integration thing.
It’s pretty awesome how the app mirrors the embeds - and vice versa.
The constitutional clause that enables our congress to enact copyright laws reads:
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.
It’s pretty arguable, given the graph of books available from Amazon’s warehouse grouped by year published, that current long-term copyright laws directly violate this clause - in fact, they work to dampen the progress of art.
How can we balance damage that extreme copyright terms do to the progress of art with financial incentives to generate said art? Obviously, most copyrighted material is only profitable at the very beginning of its term. We know more books were probably published in 1930 than in 1910. But the distinct availability of books from 1930 shows that most of them aren’t profitable now - they are out of print. Not only are they out of print, they are also still under copyright (of potentially unknown status) - so even if you wanted a copy, you would have to find a rare surviving copy. Is profitable art the only art worth preserving? I find that concept revolting. I would hope you do too.
So, long-term copyright is bad for works that do not continue to be profitable, by keeping them out of the public domain resource. By proxy, this is bad for the progress of art. But what about works of art that continue to be profitable decades, maybe even a century later? How do we allow for the same kinds of indefinite copyright we have now, while also allowing unprofitable works to fall into the public domain?
We could go back to the original copyright term. 14 years with an optional renewal for another 14 years. But that doesn’t cover Mickey Mouse (1928, Steamboat Willie). So Disney would hate that. It was great in 1790 when it was enacted, but it has no bearing on modern society.
What if we went a little radical with this, though? Especially now that we have computers to help us with some calculations. Let’s say after an initial 10 year time period, you could renew indefinitely every four years. Each time you renew, the cost is $2^n, where n is number of times you have renewed - first one is free. If, after 14 years, your work isn’t worth $2 to renew, it falls into public domain. After 18 years, $4. And so on: 22 - $8. 26 - $16. 30 - $32. 34 - $64. You see where this is going.
After 84 years, it would cost a little over $2,097,152 to renew the copyright on Steamboat Willie (and, by proxy, Mickey Mouse). I’m pretty certain Disney wouldn’t like that either, but they’d like it a lot better than no copyright at all. After all, I’m fairly certain Mickey Mouse is more profitable than $2 million dollars. But in 2016, that would go up to $4m. 2020, $8m. When cost to renew exceeds the profitability, the work falls into public domain.
And enriches all of our lives.
This would allow unprofitable works to fall into the public domain quicker. It enables us to know absolutely the copyright status and ownership of a particular work. It allows for out of print books/works of art/films/animated gifs to be profitable on the long tail (just like 19th century literature is). It balances the public good of creative works generation with the public destruction of indefinite copyright.
It enables everything to once again, legally, be a remix.