Yesterday, we covered Copyleft.
Founder’s Copyright is based on the idea that when the U.S.’s Founding Fathers wrote the original copyright law in 1790, they knew what they were doing. That law gave authors a monopoly over their creations fourteen years, with an option to renew for another fourteen years. During those fourteen years, authors hold all the control they do with regular copyright — they just agree to release their works into the public domain after fourteen years, rather than the seventy (and lengthening!) years that copyright now affords authors.
This right here is where we veer off into my opinion. I do personally believe that copyright law affords too much protection right now — it’s not a coincidence, after all, that copyright gets extended every time that Mickey Mouse is about to slip into the public domain. Copyright was intended to give authors a period of time in which to benefit fully from their work, and then allow others to make use of it — not protect the business interests of big corporations. Furthermore, these regularly scheduled extensions of copyright have created what is known as ‘orphan works’: mostly movies, but other mediums as well, that are still copyrighted, but the entity that held copyright no longer exists. Because older movies are decaying, this is a major issue, because these orphan works cannot be copied without permission from the copyright holder — which means that these works are being lost entirely.
I like the idea of Founder’s Copyright, although I don’t fill out the paperwork to register for a Founder’s Copyright (available here through the Creative Commons Foundation) simply because I write too many articles, stories, etc. to handle copyrighting each one. Instead, I plan to take the much simpler route. If a work of mine could be useful to other people if it was free, I plan to just release it into the public domain after fourteen years. After all, if I haven’t done everything I planned to in that period of time, it’s no one’s fault but my own. I’m sure plenty of my material will be outdated by that point, anyhow, and considering how much a writing style can change in fourteen years, I think that it won’t be a big deal to my income.
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