On Mon, May 16, 2016 at 3:38 PM, Dale E Sterner <sunbeam...@juno.com> wrote:
> I stand corrected. What I heard was that senator Sonie Bono had the law
> extended.

Senator Bono (one half of pop music duo Sonny and Cher) had ties to
the entertainment industry, and pushed for life of copyright to be
extended.  As mentioned, DisneyCo was unhappy because the original
conception of Mickey Mouse was about to fall into the public domain.

> The europeans went a step futher and extended it even
> futher. I was talking to a woman who writes music and
> she said she had to renew every couple of years for
> a very small fee. What I don't understand is why copyrights
> last so much longer than patents Patents can cost billions
> to perfect.

How long a copyright should last is an ongoing battle.  The original
incentive for copyrights was to encourage creative work by giving the
creators exclusive rights to revenues derived from sale of what they
created, and the original life was intended to permit that but expire
after a period of years, allowing the work to lapse into the public

What we now face is a situation where work might *never* lapse into
the public domain.

The US is currently Life + 70 years.  Australia used to be Life + 50,
changed to Life + 70, but work that had already lapsed into the public
domain in Ausrtalia under the old rules was grandfathered, and did not
magically come under copyright again.  Canada is still Life + 50, and
the Project Gutenberg Canada site is leading the fight to keep it that

There are people making a good case it's time to simply abolish
copyrights, as they largely no longer serve the original intended

Patents also have designated expiration dates.  But unlike copyrights,
you do have to jump through hoops to get them.  In the US, you must
submit an application to the USPTO, and it must be examined and
approved before a patent is issued.  There's a lot of unhappiness in
the computer industry about the process.  For instance, you don't get
a patent if it can be demonstrated  that prior art exists, and you are
trying to patent something that has already been in use before you
came along and you have not made something new.  Patent examiners are
overworked, and in many cases simply not qualified to judge the merits
of the patent applied for.

And for more fun, look at trademarks, where you must apply for
trademark and wait to see whether anyone objects.  Star wrestler Hulk
Hogan had to negotiate a license from Marvel comics to be able to call
himself Hulk because Marvel had trademarked the name.

> cheers
> DS

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