Friday, 30 November 2007

How long should copyright last?

From The Guardian:

How long should copyright last?

Victor Keegan (
Thursday November 29 2007
Rufus Pollock of Cambridge University has done such a study ( or here). He told the seminar that the optimal length of copyright came out at 15 years. Hogarth would have been unsurprised.


Ron Pavellas said...

As for music, renown composers of 200 years ago (in Europe) could make a living by selling the sheet music. I don't know how long the copyright, if any, lasted. As for recorded music, I have no basis for imagining how long rights to the original recording and its copies should last, but it seems to me that after death there should be no rights by the heirs to the estate, unless they had a part in the composing and making of the recording.

As for written works, I am not yet published but I probably will be within the next 5-10 years, and I think that I ought to be able to enjoy the fruits of my labor, if any, for as long as I live or for maybe 20 years, whichever lasts longest. The figure is arbitrary; perhaps somewhere around the period of a human generation is apt.

But what I want or think is right will be overridden or modified or ignored by the marketplace, or powerful interests who can pay off legislators.

Charles said...


this piece is still under copyright, and while you're allowed to use *short extracts* and comment on them for critical use, it is against the law - 15 years or not - to simply steal the entire content and put it on your site.

If you do this, we don't get readers on our site, so we can't pay people to write pieces like the one you just stole. Please do not do this. Please remove the full text. Basically, don't crap in your backyard like this. In the end, it takes away the support for the thing you want.

Criticism, yes. Copying, no. Be creative instead.

Charles Arthur, editor, Technology Guardian

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