Re: Limit the Term.
> Shorter copyight terms are popular on the internet but very unpopular in real life.
People are largely grouped into two camps on this issue:
1) People that don't really care, probably constituted by consumers mainly. A relatively small proportion of them do care about DRM and related issues.
2) People that do care because they perceive that reduction in copyright term would affect their income. For the vast majority of these people, it would make very little difference in terms of their economic income. Most economic works pay the vast majority of what they're going to pay in the first few years, probably 3 or 4 years. We can see this effect in practice when we can buy releases of games, CDs and DVDs in the bargain bins.
From an economic perspective (setting aside the moral aspects which Andrew keeps alluding to in France and Germany), people hate letting things go. Bears defend their kill, people hoard stuff they have paid for, even if they don't use it. It is built into our psyche. However, we mustn't pander to it. If the purpose of copyright is economic (the oft touted social contract balance of encouraging the production of works against our refraining from free use for a set time), then the term should be set based on the useful economic period, which for the vast majority of creative works is probably less than 5 years. With that borne in mind, 20 years is *vastly* too long but still far better than life + 50/70 years.
What might be interesting to explore is different terms for different kinds of works. Films have a fairly short life, music probably longer, many forms of art probably considerably longer. It might be quite difficult to adjudicate in practice though and adding complication to an already complex area would make things worse in my view.