You probably read here and some other places about the refreshingly honest 9-page report of the Republican Study Committee that took the U.S. Copyright System to task, and made some modest proposals for fixing it.
You may have also read that the report had the shelf-life of a live lobster left out in the sun, less than 24 hours.
Now that the dust has settled a bit, it doesn’t look like the debate is going away, and that’s probably a good thing. The Huffington Post , along with some others, large and small. The Hollywood Reporter, which was busy flogging itself over the weekend for its role in the 50’s Black List in Tinseltown, opines: Not too long ago, intellectual property was one of those esoteric policy issues that evaded strong partisan divide. But with Hollywood money being widely seen as helping to propel Barack Obama to re-election, and with Republicans still examining how to win back voters, might that change?
In fact, the squelched report has some solid ideas, one of which is to roll back the essentially perpetual copyright terms. That’s not retaliation, it’s just smart. The folks down at Duke Law, perhaps coincidentally, published a piece recently about all the works that would have (read should have) entered the public domain if the overreaching extensions of Copyright Terms in 1978 hadn’t occurred. To whit,
- Rudolf Flesch’s Why Johnny Can’t Read: And What You Can Do About It
- J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Return of the King, the final installment in his Lord of Rings trilogy
- The Family of Man, Edward Steichen’s book of photographs showing the diversity and universality of human experience
- Michihiko Hachiya’s Hiroshima Diary: The Journal of a Japanese Physician, August 8–September 30, 1945, translated by Warner Wells, md
- Evelyn Waugh’s Officers and Gentlemen, the second book in his Sword of Honour trilogy
- The first English translation of Thomas Mann’s last novel, Confessions of Felix Krull, Confidence Man: The Early Years (1954), by Denver Lindley
- C.S. Lewis’ The Magician’s Nephew, the sixth volume his The Chronicles of Narnia
- Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita
- Jerome Lawrence & Robert E. Lee’s play about the Scopes “Monkey Trial,” Inherit the Wind
That’s just getting the wheel turning.
Even the Canadians have an opinion, as well they might.
And on it goes.
Don’t Mess With The Mouse (hey, you ripped me off!)
So, maybe the cat’s out of the toothpaste tube, or some such. The fact is that the report was too sensible to be ignored.