You actually haven’t seen anyone seriously argue for copyright terms that short?
It has nothing to do with rolling anything back to the early 19th century and everything to do with making copyright policy that maximizes benefit to the public. Remember that copyright is a limit on freedom of expression, that has to be balanced against a significant public good, and that public good is supposed to be encouraging the creation of new works. News services would still want to publish photos even in the copyright terms were one week or one month. A 75 year term is not encouraging the creation of new compelling news photos and is suppressing the sharing of information and the creation of new works.
So there, you’ve seen someone seriously argue for a considerably shorter copyright term than 28 years.
I have not yet seen any serious person argue for a shorter term…
The Copyright Act of 1790, passed by some of the same guys who ratified the Constitution, gave a term of 14 years with a possible extension of another 14 years, and they made no news exception despite there being a great many newspapers at the time. For better or worse you’re going against a couple centuries of precedent here if you want to push for a term substantially shorter.than the first ones ever.
Next, you seem to forget that fair use exists and allows broader use of copyrighted material if it’s newsworthy. It’s why you can see the “Tank Man” photo for free on Wikipedia. Copyright here mainly means AP gets a slice when someone tries to make money off it.
There’s also practical problems. First, you’re killing the incentive for news organizations to keep photo archives. If they can’t make money off of reprints, why spend the money preserving them? Then, when implementing this, who does this affect? If you narrowly target it to corporate news organizations you’re just setting yourself up for equal protection challenges and businesses playing cute with their formal organization. If you apply it to all work-for-hire works you’re penalizing non-news businesses. If you apply it to all newsworthy photographs you’re dicking over individual freelancers and amateurs.
I just don’t see there being a problem that’s worse than the situation produced by your solution.
So either I wasn’t serious or I’m not a person. I guess I buy that.
If I had spent my life waking up every morning and stabbing my leg with a fork, there would be two ways I could go. 1) I could say, “Well, it’s precedent, so I’d better continue,” or 2) I could say, “I have a lot of data on this now, and the data says this is painful and unproductive, so I’m going to stop.” Precedent means there is a history to study, not a reason to do anything.
Fair use has no hard-and-fast rules that can be relied upon and puts the burden on the fair user, meaning that fair use exists only for those who are willing to pay lawyers to back up fair use. It’s a broken system.
You just don’t see there being a problem right now that’s worse than all of these things you can imagine happening if things were different.
Copyright is a limitation on freedom of expression. That limitation has to be justified and that justification has to be in terms of benefit to the public. You can’t justify it with a bunch of “what ifs.”
In short: The argument that private enterprise preserving things for their own profit is of more benefit to the public than the public having free access to them is perverse. The argument that corporations will simply skirt rules is an argument that we ought to throw up our hands and have no laws because people will just keep finding loopholes so what’s the point. And the idea that any change to copyright would penalize any business is absurd since copyright is a privilege that exists for the public good. And no, you don’t dick over amateur photographers by changing the terms of copyright.
Please just don’t call an Israeli tank a Jewish tank. You are finding yourself trying to explain it, but why not just say “Israeli tank”? Why would calling it “Jewish” be so important as to be willing to mislead and offend? I embarrassed to say I missed this until I read @Conezy pointing it out, and we ought all be embarrassed if we can’t make that distinction.
Why should anyone be offended? If Israel ever becomes the State of all its citizens instead of “State of the Jewish People”, I will say “Israeli tank”. I think the 20% non-Jewish minority would be offended by the suggestion that the tank represents them.