Patent and Copyright terms (Was: Can Microsoft ruin XML with patents?)
bofh at stremler.net
Fri Mar 19 02:37:01 PST 2004
begin quoting Andrew P. Lentvorski, Jr. as of Fri, Mar 19, 2004 at 02:10:46AM -0800:
> Or, think of the films languishing in the Warner Brother vaults from the
> early 1900's. If they had to pay to hold onto the copyright, they would
> have incentive to sell the rights or try to make some money by releasing
> them. As things stand, there is no incentive to release anything just on
> the odd chance that one of them might become valuable. Consequently, the
> films sit in the vaults and continue to degrade.
...and if you told 'em that they'd have to pay to keep the copyright,
they'd be just as likely to *destroy* 'em.
The problem with the current system, and the proposed replacement, is
that it favors ownership by corporations. This is, I think, the basic
My personal preference is to simply deny copyright to corporations, and
to disallow the sale of copyright. So if a corporation wants to "own"
a copyright, they can license it from a *person*, presumably with some
sort of limit (no unbounded license -- a fixed-term lease with option
to renew). The second part is necessary to keep a corporation from
simply hiring a stooge to be the nominal owner, and then pressuring them
to sell the copyrights to the next stooge.
I would also like to see archival copies provided to the library of
congress, since the whole point of the exercise of having works pass
into the public domain when copyright expires is moot if no copy exists
that can be /put/ into the public domain.
Patents can be structured on a similiar system, with an extra fillip --
to renew a patent, you should provide a working copy of the device, and
demonstrate it to the examiner. If it doesn't work, no renewal.
I *think* the GPL could handle this sort of fundamental restructuring.
The hard part is how to implement it...
-Stewart "Unforseen consequences can be for good or ill" Stremler
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