Copyright double billing

posted by Jason Kottke Dec 29, 2004

Having seen many of his presentations and read many of his articles, it's been enjoyable watching Larry Lessig refine his copyright arguments over the past few years. Many still wrongly assume that he's anti-copyright, but his views are much more nuanced than that, certainly more subtle than those of the media industry or the US government. Here's a short passage from his latest article on copyright term extensions:

We rightfully grant the monopoly called copyright to inspire new creative work. But once that work has been created, there is no public justification for extending its term. The public has already paid. Term extension is just double billing. Any wealth it creates for copyright holders is swamped by the wealth the public loses in lower costs and wider access.

A limited term of protection in exchange for freely available creative work...sounds reasonable to me.