The issue of copyrights is more than "paying the creator." It also functionally prevents derivative works from being created until the copyright expires. Copyright needs to exist for a brief period to ensure that a creator gets reimbursed for their efforts, but I simply do not agree that any creator should be able to create a work and not only live off that one work for their lifetime, but their estate retain control of and royalties for the next 70 years. Assuming of course the creator gets *anything,* usually they sell their works for a pittance to a copyright holding company so that they can do things like actually pay rent at the end of the month. The copyright holding company then screws everyone for the next hundred plus years.
No, 25 years – NON TRANSFERRABLE – is the proper way to deal with copyright. Copyright should remain with the individual(s) who created the work, or the company that commissioned it. It should not last a human lifetime, but be made available for creative revisions and reimagining within the lifespan of the original “fans” of that work.
You may not agree with me – many people who believe (falsely) that they have a natural right to their efforts don’t – but you will not dissuade me of my opinion.
A blacksmith made for me a lovely knife this summer. It was a labour of days on his part…a true work of art. He sold this knife to me and at that moment he lost all control over that knife. I could use it for any number of things. I could destroy it. I could build a small shrine to it. It was a work of art and a physical object both…but at the point of sale he lost “creative control” over what happened to the physical item.
When it comes to intellectual property, this is a harder concept. Some would argue that George Lucas has the natural right to say what can and cannot happen to the Star Wars franchise for all of eternity. His estate should retain creative control for eternity and his descendants should be allowed to profit from his idea for the rest of time.
I very deeply disagree. In my view – as a paid and published writer who hopes one day to become a successful novelist and who is engaged to an actor – creative works /do not belong to the creator/!!! They belong to society at large. We (society) allow the creator a monopoly upon (and creative control over) those works for a (brief) time in order to encourage creators to continue to create. After a time however, (one I firmly believe should be 25 years from date of publication,) that work should be released into the public domain. Star Wars should be public domain by now; we should be allowed a fresh crack at the concept whilst people who watched the original are still alive to appreciate the comparison.
Public domain is very important. No creative work occurs in a vacuum. If you were a creator, you would know this; all creative works build upon those that have gone before them. Without that ability to do this, we isolate ourselves from valuable creative resources and we lose large pieces of culture at the same time.
If you want to know what I am talking about, then do not reply to this comment. Get up from this computer and go find a series of books called “Otherland” by an author named Tad Williams. Read them. The man is an absolute genius, and he has taken a great many public domain works and rolled them together with his own ideas to create an absolutely amazing unique and novel creative work. It is one of my favourite creative works of all time and it quite frankly would not have been possible had the concept of the public domain not existed.
Perpetual copyright is a very negative thing. No copyright is similarly a very negative thing. The balance point then is limit copyright to within a human lifespan. 25 years seems a great compromise; one that allows a creator the chance to reap some rewards from their works, but does not bind the hands of future creators.