Longtime readers of this site know that, from time to time, I like to climb up on my soapbox and decry the chilling effects on creativity and free expression of the ever-increasing U.S. copyright terms. Disney and its ilk are primarily responsible for Congress’ whittling away at the public domain.
In a year-end panel last December, I said I thought the copyright extensions were one of the book world’s underreported stories of 2003:
Lawrence Lessig has done an excellent job of arguing that works should be allowed to enter the public domain in due course, but the Supreme Court has said, essentially, that only Congress can stop the copyright-extension madness. I think the press should be doing more to make writers and readers aware of the corporate machinery behind the extensions, and of the traditional view that the public discourse and arts benefit when there is free access to public domain works and “products of inventive and artistic genius.”
The always-on-top-of-it Chris Lehmann reviews Lawrence Lessig’s new book, How Big Media Uses Technology and the Law to Lock Down Culture and Control Creativity, for the Washington Post today and calls Lessig “one of those rare legal scholars with both a clear narrative voice and a fine eye for historical irony.”