Common Sense, Copyright, and Fair Use

So I’m a little behind in my LEM reading, but Dan Knight published an outstanding article on copyright and fair use. If you ever needed a simple overview of the issue, this is it. Dan also offers some common sense changes to current copyright law that would continue to benefit copyright holders as well as the public good.

My only suggestion would be that Dan’s recommendations for length of the copyright is too long, even with the suggested registration fees. As a copyright holder myself, and an aspiring author, this is an area of great interest to me. I am, however, a consumer as well, and therefore would like to see less restrictive copyright lengths. My own proposal would be an initial copyright of 25 years, with a maximum renewal of another 25.

Think of this; with that kind of copyright time length, Clancy’s The Hunt for Red October, and Red Storm Rising, considered seminal fiction works of the Cold War, would enter the public domain in 2034 and 2036, respectively. Clancy will have more than made enough money off of those two tomes (which seem to get republished every time he releases another book) to pass on to his progeny. He would be 87 when the copyright on Red October would run out.

If I published a book right now, I would be 82 when the copyright, under my proposed rules, runs out in 2052. I think that’s long enough for me to make some dough off my work, don’t you?