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September 7th, 2010:

Balance in Copyright

Copyright is the right to control the copying or the exploitation of a creative work. This right is designed to ensure that the creator is compensated the effort they put into creating a piece of music, literature or other ‘creative’ work. It is right that they are able to protect this right under the law, so that they have an incentive to create; a benefit to society.

Dave Post on the Volokh Conspiracy looks at the downside of extending the length of time that authors rights are protected. In The High Cost of Copyright he looks at why recently discovered jazz recordings [^] from the 1930s and 40s may never be heard. While Walter Olson at Overlawyered talks about the murky area where the creator can no longer be traced [^]. The threat of massive fines means that rather than being reproduced, or reused, and saved these items may be lost to society.

And there’s your copyright balance; what we seek is a way to give creators enough of an incentive to create, but not too much, because too much gives us, the public, too much of an impediment to actually enjoying the works that have already been created. Р18-Aug-2010 РThe High Cost of Copyright

In other words, there is no point protecting something so much that you end up suffocating the very thing that you are trying to save. We need to find a balance between protecting the creator and ensuring that society has the access to material that it requires.