What's the objectively optimal copyright term?

the problem might be determining what is a “work” and who is the author.

if the author is the copyright holder, a person might just incorporate, and pass the corporate asset to their children, another person, or a company.

from there, claim 5 word sentences are a work to extend easily and infinitely.

Fifteen years would make sense to me. That’s about the inflection point between something still being new-ish and relevant-ish and where it starts being more that-old-thing-your-dad-liked.

Half a generation.


University of Cambridge study from 2009 concluded optimal Copyright term is around 15 years.


What’s your plan on convincing Congress that science and math is valid evidence? Because that’s really all that matters in this case. You can have literal mountains of evidence, but the head of the House Science Committee says they can’t ever be convinced that evolution is true. So, keeping that in mind, how do we expect to convince them of anything without waving filthy lucre in their faces, or threatening them at gunpoint?


The WIPO published in 2009 a collection of papers. The focus is more on IP in developing countries and not optimal copyright terms, but the articles are written well and give an overview of the state of the research (if it’s even possible to scientifically research a political topic…).

I’m not sure why there could be any action to have what other people create.


As an artist and musician I would hope that I have sole control of my products forever.

Anything else would be theft.

It also implies they are actively making money from their works, and thus have a reason to extend.

The only work to have a perpetual copyright that I know of is Peter Pan (UK rights held by Great Ormond Street Hospital).

Why do you think that your works should also have that?

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I’m sure the pile of bones at the bottom of your coffin will enjoy their copyrights and will be making even more hit songs 800 years from now, long after you’re dead. Too bad nobody would be allowed to play around with your music 200 years from now though.


That’s not actually copyright. It’s a perpetual right to collect royalties, but does not grant the Great Ormond Street Hospital creative control over the material they have a right to collect royalties on.

It’s kind of like the mandatory licensing schemes setup to force pharmaceutical companies into playing ball in countries like India.


Optimal life: three years, decaying or appreciating. We have enough surveillance technology that we can tell if a copyright is increasing in value or decreasing, and therefore set timers on their eventual dissolution. If the holder is gaining, they keep their share. If it’s decaying, it drifts away over a few years.

My children?

They make your music too? Then can’t they just get their co-creator credit and hang on to the copyright for the stuff they made with you, after you’re gone?

You said

Forever doesn’t end when you die, and why should your corpse have a right to anything. Sure you’re children might want to profit off your work, but that really shouldn’t go on forever. Otherwise you end up with situations where 1000 years from now basically all possible and listenable music is under copyright, nobody can create anything, and everyone has to pay everyone else to do anything anywhere. Forever’s an infinitely long time. There are a finite number of notes and note combinations that anyone would listen to. So if copyright lasts forever, eventually we’ll run out, all the owners will be dead, and if we wait long enough all works will be orphaned and nobody would be allowed to use or make any music.



Creativity is infinite.

Go out and experience the world and you will see.

In fact nature is careful to not repeat it’s self.

I think his point is that creativity might be infinite, but the law is not. And the law has a way of seriously fucking up people’s creativity. Which brings it all back around to the OP.


The way God (and Hayek) intended. The fact that these authorities mean little to me doesn’t recommend against mandatory licensing.

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Melancholy Elephants?


Hmmm. Hadn’t thought about that, though ebulent ones might crash about and break things…

Nobody is asking for anything you have created. Quite the opposite! You are asking the state to punish people, at no cost to you, if those people have done anything strongly similar to something that you have done. It’s a fundamentally different proposition. Nobody’s taking anything from you; instead you’re asking to use my tax dollars to take things from other people, such as their money, their freedom and their illicit copies of your works.

I agree! Nobody should ever be able to force you to play or sing against your will. That’d be slavery (or possibly a routine police activity) or some other equally noxious and immoral coercion.

In the English language, theft is when someone deprives you of something. If it wasn’t taken, it wasn’t stolen, because you still have it. So illicit copying is not ever theft, under any circumstances, if you are speaking English - regardless of where you live. Legal definitions of theft are a little more problematical, because there are immensely wealthy forces (who certainly are not the friends of artists and creators) who are attempting to redefine theft to include illegal copying. So far, they have not been successful, but they’re going to keep trying, mostly so that they can take advantage of artists and creators.


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