Does copyright incentivize creativity?

Andrew Dubber has a much linked-to post recently in which he declares that music copyright should last for five years, renewable on the condition of commercial availability. That would make a gigantic improvement over the current effectively perpetual (50-70 years depending on jurisdiction, retroactively extended as necessary). Not as gigantic, but much more tenable than the one year usufruct proposal I noted a few years ago.

It’s great to see someone who appears to be well respected in the recorded music industry providing such a radical and rational (in today’s context) proposal, but the key insight has nothing to do with the specifics of his proposal. Dubber writes (emphasis added):

Current blanket copyright terms ‘protect’ (I use that term in the sense of ‘racket’) copyright owners so that they can continue to be paid over and over again for work they did years ago. It prevents anyone else from making money out of works that have been shelved.

It does not, in any real sense, ‘incentivise creativity’.

So obvious, so completely ignored by policy.

Via Techdirt.

3 Responses

  1. jam says:

    the music seems like hot water, so much so, everyone has to pay.. well that’s the way it is here in Europe.

    for now, i can’t see how it can change with so many people getting paid through the use of the hotwater. yet maybe it can…

    it would be great to see more artists use a creative commons license that allows commercial use though. yet as the music ideas in the main stream seem so remixed, many artists pool their ideas into a freezer, its hard not to be precious about songs, yet then on the other hand, think of the effort that goes into getting a song out to the airwaves, i don’t feel that corporations can risk any kind of copy fraud. maybe that is why its easier just to remix the whole the shop again and again and again.

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