Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Preservation / restoration copyright

Add a special copyright class for restored versions of pre-existing works
  [vote for,

Under today's current copyright statutes and rules, someone who possesses the only copies of a work whose copyright has lapsed may copy it as is, but receive no copyright protection for so doing, or may publish it in altered form (possibly restored, possibly mutilated) and claim 95 years of copyright protection; if they take the latter approach, they may sit on or even destroy the original, thus effectively getting 95 years of copyright protection for someone else's work.

Neither of these situations is in the public interest. While it certainly doesn't hurt the public if someone publishes his collection of public-domain works, the complete lack of copyright protection in that situation means there's little incentive for people with private collections to go through the effort of publishing them. Further, there can be strong incentives not to allow any copies of the work to escape in unaltered (public-domain) form; not only is this contrary to the public interest in that it prevents works from legitimately entering the public domain, but it can also make it impossible for anyone to see the original version of the work.

What I would like to see would be the introduction of a new class of copyright for media transformations of already-existing works. Such copyrights would only be granted for a relatively short term (e.g. two to five years or so). People or companies who wish to make major transformative restorations would be able to copyright them provided that they made available a non-transformed version at a price not to exceed a certain threshhold [e.g. $100 per hour or portion thereof for reproducible movie film, $25 each for reproducible photographs, etc.] Note that these prices would not be oriented toward consumers, but rather toward companies which specialize in the reproduction and resale of public domain material.

Under such a copyright scheme, people with collections of rare works would have an incentive to publish intact copies of them, thus ensuring the preservation of those works for generations to come.

supercat, Apr 11 2003


       Bah - banish copyright altogether, I say. America made its first fortune by riding roughshod over European copyrights and patents, and China is currently dong the same thing. A completely free marketplace seems to be essential to developing nations. It's only staid old ones with heavily entrenched businesses that like the restrictions.
DrCurry, Apr 11 2003

       I object greatly to the notion of abolishing copyright. I do support a more concrete and liberal definition of fair use, though, as long as it precludes one from directly selling the intellectual property of another as their own.   

       Just as a general question, blurring trademark and copyright for the sake of the question, if you were to market a, say, $1 C.O.G. white ceramic coffee cup with a color image of Mickey Mouse on it for $10.00, how much money should go to you and how much to Disney?
bristolz, Apr 11 2003

       If you want to sell a Mickey Mouse coffee cup, the fee should quite legitimately be determined by Disney. If you find the fee reasonable, you pay it; if not, you come up with some other product.   

       Copyrights are important, but the terms have gotten truly absurd. Still, I think restoration copyrights should be a special case since the current scheme often results in what should be public-domain materials becoming inaccessible.
supercat, Apr 12 2003

       How much do you think it would cost to buy the rights to sell a coffee cup with a half-eaten croissant on it, and a little paper 50 cent price tag?
Cedar Park, Apr 12 2003

       Cedar Park: That would be a question for Jutta. She might find cafepress.com to be a good place to get stuff like that.
supercat, Apr 12 2003


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