I agree with Tyler Cowen that a copyright term of 28 years from publication, if registered, or the life of the author, whichever is longer, would be far better than the status quo, of the life of the author plus 70 years, for all works, published and unpublished, whether or not registered.
That is a Substack essay from Matt Yglesias, and open source at that. Excerpt, using quotation marks rather than forcing further indents on the segment:“To me, there’s something attractive about the “constitutional copyright” idea of returning to the 1790 Copyright Act rule. But there’s also something attractive about the idea of an author retaining control over their works during their lifetime. There’s also something to be said for the idea that if you publish something and then get hit by a bus the next day, maybe that happenstance shouldn’t cut your heirs out of the downside. Mashing that all together might leave you with life of the author OR 28 years, whichever is longer.
“Fewer than 11 percent of the copyrights registered between 1883 and 1964 were renewed after 28 years.”
“Of the 10,027 books published in 1930, only 174 were still in print in 2001.”It is just super-rare for old works to have large commercial value. But Xing Li, Megan MacGarvie, and Petra Moser show that copyright extensions have a big impact on consumer prices. And I would argue the cultural cost is higher.”
Via Marginal Revolution.