Wednesday, June 4, 2003

What can you get for a dollar?

If you haven't already, please sign the Eldred Act petition.

In the wake of the disappointing Eldred v Ashcroft decision (which upheld the latest round of copyright term increases), Larry Lessig is pushing for a new kind of reform. Corporations are unwilling to uphold their part of the copyright bargain, and the government seems unwilling to force them to. Perhaps we can't expect profitable works to pass into the public domain as promised, but what about the thousands of unprofitable, unused works which remain locked up in copyright by default? Vast portions of our culture and history are inaccessible and unusable, just so that a handful of works can still profit.

The Eldred Act aims to fix this. The idea: charge $1 to extend a work's copyright beyond 50 years. Corporations unwilling to relinquish control would pay $1 and continue to profit, but any work which is not specifically extended every five years will pass into the public domain.

If you believe in the importance of the public domain, please sign the petition.