Copyright Term Reform/Reregistration

< Copyright Term Reform

The first legal issue to deal with should be to recreate the reregistration

requirement. This should have the least resistance from existing copyrightholders and should allow people to save the 99% of out of publication

works that copyright owners no longer care about.

Here is my first pass at a proposal:

  1. Copyright by default would last 15 years. After the 15 years are up the owner of the copyright has the option to reregister to extend the length of the copyright by another 15 years.
  1. Reregistration would require a small processing fee, two copies of the work using an current media technology(i.e. no 8 inch floppies), and contact information for the current copyright holder.
  2. The maximum number of reregistrations would be set to give about the same length of copyright as the current method.

This proposal would remove the problem of losing works due to copyright,since it would force the owners of it to either keep some copies in good

enough condition to send in two copies to the Library of Congress (or

equivalent in another nation), or the copyright would expire and thenother people would have the right to maintain the work. —Jrincayc

My problem is that by requiring only a small processing fee, we only gain relatively few works in the public domain, publishers would do so routinely. Instead, I would prefer a model where the fee increaseses progressively with the amount of time elapsed. —Erik
How about increasing the number of copies of the work required (this won’t work for a sculpture and similar one of a kind things) as the number of renewals increases? This would have the added advantage of making it easier for researchers to get ahold of a copy since at least the Library of Congress would have several extra copies. So the first renewal could require 4 copies and the second could require 8 and so on. —Jrincayc
That doesn’t seem fair to the person who is making only a modest living off of a work. Sure it makes sense for the Beatles catalog, but what about other, lesser-known works? They may not have the money to do that (depending on how much this progressive increase amounts to). And anyway, the point of this is to make some small, sane adjustments to copyright law; to <a href=”;>boil the frog slowly</a>. —Nick
If the person is only making a modest living off the work, it seems unlikely that this living will be increased substantially by longer terms. I think the primary point of having a reregistration would be to make copyright reform possible without too much resistance from major stakeholders. The default needs to be long enough, but anyone who wants to go beyond that should pay. —Erik
Heh, that’s exactly why I think there <em>shouldn’t</em> be an increased fee. If someone’s making only a small amount off their work, it doesn’t seem fair to cut into those royalties, reducing their net. Besides, this will only hurt the little guys, the big corporations will be able to afford it. —Nick
The fee should be small (less than a hundred dollars), but there should be a fee. If you don’t expect to make a hundred dollars off your work with another fifteen years of protection, why do you even need protection? If a work is no longer profitable, it shouldn’t be protected anymore. I think the fee is a good way to ensure that. Sure, a big media company can afford to pay the fee for even their least profitable works, but they’ll still be paying the fee. —Jonboy
“… this will only hurt the little guys, the big corporations will be able to afford it.” Sad to say, but this is a reality we will have to put up with. If we want a snowballs hell chance of getting anywhere with this initiative, we can only make changes that are palatable to the big guys. We, realisticaly, don’t have the might to take on the big guys head to head.

Could it be possible to require re-registration only for derivative or “updated” versions of the original.. something like having the original lapse into the public domain (as was intended), and where the former owner can now place copyright over the contemporized version.. their control is maintained for the contemporized version, and yet the public is infused with the freedom to use the older version. ->

A forseeable problem would be that the copyright holder could be tempted to created an ‘incomplete’ work, with the full intention of contemporizing and re-contemporizing based around a flaw or two, maintaining control of a useful product and extended the copyright via this wacky reregistration process indefinitely. I’m not sure if I’ve explained this well. I don’t feel it’s much of a concern anyways. Basically what would happen isn’t very different from what happens now.. say with Disney re-releasing a variant work. ->

Bind the duration of a copyright to the (legal – for taxation or whatever) age of retirement in a country. What’s that, 65ish? Let it extend as expected lifespan and retirement ages extend. — rack

Alright, I know this idea might not be the most popular, but why not make the copyright renewable ay annual intervals. What I mean is, you get your ‘x’ number of years off the bat. Once this term expires, you enter an annual renewal scheme (kinda like you renew a domainname each year). Now the renewal fee can be a flat $25 (as an example) or an percantage fee. Something like 1% of average revenue derived from the copyright. Now there is the problem that it will need to be legally defined exactly how profits from a copyright are recorded, but this would also create a whole new division to the accounting industry as well as create new jobs. The gov’t, who would receive the revenue would also employ auditors and record keepers etc etc. I know it needs a lot of work, but I mean, if you need to renew an identifying mark like a domain name each year, doesn’t seem to far fethched to renew a copyright each year (after initial protection). –NemiSYS

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