Subject: Re: termless copyright and patents
From: "Ben Tilly" <>
Date: Tue, 19 Sep 2006 22:17:59 -0700

On 9/19/06, Thomas Lord <> wrote:
> Stephen J. Turnbull wrote:
> >     Thomas> So, patents and copyrights extend for X and Y years
> >     Thomas> respectively and we can fight and fight about what the
> >     Thomas> right values for X and Y should be.
> >
> > Alternatively, we could amend the copyright and patent statutes to
> > require a mandatory review of costs and benefits every five years,
> > including a series of public hearings, before a renewal of the
> > existing term limits (and perhaps changing the expiry date of existing
> > rights, but I think that is a bad idea---see the economists' amicus
> > brief in the Eldridge case).

We effectively already have this.  The reviews happen when the
copyright on Mickey Mouse is about to become public domain.  Making it
official rather than unofficial might be interesting.

> And, this would be better because socialism is a more efficient allocator
> of resources?

No, because someone other than Disney should have a say in changing the rules...

> > So basically what's left is that we grant you a monopoly, except that
> > if it's really valuable, we're going to allow your would-be
> > competitors to buy you out at a government-set price and put your
> > technology into play.
>  Correct.

This idea is politically DOA.  Everyone will just drag out the example
of how much it costs to produce new drugs, and the set price will wind
up ridiculously high.  (As in billions of dollars.)  Except that this
will be so obviously stupid that it is easier to retain the status