The merits and demerits of the copyright extension law as seen in works that may have become public domain in January 2016

The copyright protection period of the United States is 70 years after the death of the author, but in the case of a corporate work it is up to 95 years after issue or 120 years after production, so it looks like Mickey Mouse etc. In the case of a corporate work, copyright is protected for a very long period. This protection period has been extended due to repeated revisions to the copyright law, but depending on the timing at which the protection period extension measures law is enforced, a number of famous works whose days become public domains greatly delay Yes, it has become a big question to the ideal way of the copyright period.

What Could Have Entered the Public Domain on January 1, 2016?

The copyright law of the United States has been revised frequently, but its main focus is basically to extend the protection period of copyright. This is because the powerful lobbying of Mickey Mouse's copyright lobbying activity has been amended every time the copyright of Mickey Mouse is about to be cleared, the copyright extension law is called "Mickey Mouse Act" There are also ridiculed voices.

What kinds of copyright laws have been changed so far to protect the copyright of "Mickey Mouse"? - GIGAZINE

This figure shows how the protection period of the copyright of the United States has been extended by repeated law revisions. Since the protection period varies depending on requirements, it is clear that the law has been revised in such a way that all periods are extended, even if there are multiple types of protection periods.

As you can see in the above figure, the Copyright Law Enforcement Act (1978)Title 17 of the United States Code), The copyright protection period that was effective up to 56 years by renewing it will be extended to 70 years after the author's death, and in the case of duty work or anonymous work it will be greatly extended to 95 years after issuance It was decided. Therefore, without the copyright extension law in 1978, many works that came out in 1959 as of January 1, 2016Public domain(Public), it should have been made available for free.

If it is an "assumed world" in the absence of the copyright extension law in 1978, for example in the movie, "Ben Har"Take the road in the north and northwest"sleeping beauty"The great episode such as" The Public Domain "has become. If it is a music work "Sound of Music"EdelweissIf you say in a strange place, "programming language"COBOLSince it was made in 1959, it should have been the subject of the public domain. Also, various scientific papers published in Nature and Science could be viewed without paying a subscription fee of $ 32 (about 3800 yen). However, as a result of extending the copyright protection period, it is the reality that these works were to be protected by copyright up to 2055 at the longest.

The copyright law protects the rights of authors because it has the purpose of encouraging creation by protecting rights and contributing to the development of culture. However, in view of the fact that most works are not completely independent from the history of works that have been accumulated so far, there are aspects such as imitation, modification, improvement and overcoming past works Admitting too long a copyright protection period hinders the creation of new work and eventually it can be disadvantage of society as a whole.

In the hypothetical world, movie Ben Hahl, whose copyright should have disappeared in 2016,Ben Har - The story of ChristIt is a work based on the 1880 novel, and if this work is the "assumed world" protected by the Copyright Extension Law, it is thought that the big movie Ben Ha could not come out to the world It seems that protection of copyright which is too long can be a huge hurdle.

As for the US copyright law which can not be separated from the life expectancy of Mickey Mouse, the group opposed to the extension measures of the copyright law says, "Congress has exclusive rights to authors / inventors for" limited period " Based on the provisions of Article 1 8, Section 8 of the Constitution of the United States of being able to give it ", the copyright extension law raises numerous lawsuits as being constitutional breach. In other words, it is argued that the protection period that can last semi-permanently to protect Mickey Mouse is no longer a "limited period". While each country including Japan extends the copyright protection period in a way that is contrary to the extension of the copyright protection period of the United States, it seems that the discussion will continue for when the Mickey Mouse becomes a public domain.

ByKurman Communications, Inc.

in Note, Posted by darkhorse_log