Subject: Re: termless copyright and patents
From: "Stephen J. Turnbull" <>
Date: Wed, 20 Sep 2006 18:08:45 +0900

>>>>> "Ben" == Ben Tilly <> writes:

    >> Stephen J. Turnbull wrote:

    >> 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).

    Ben> We effectively already have this.  The reviews happen when
    Ben> the copyright on Mickey Mouse is about to become public
    Ben> domain.

Please read the parenthetical remark.  We don't already have "this",
although I admit my statement of "this" could have been clearer. :-/

    Ben> Making it official rather than unofficial might be
    Ben> interesting.

I have no doubt at all that it would be interesting if achieved.

What I have in mind is something like the process for changing the
federal debt limit.  It's just words and Congress can retract them at
any time, but it's very public and embarrassing when they do.  Most
important would be decoupling longer terms that reward *future* ideas
from extensions of *existing* rights that reward large campaign
contributions and Oscar-quality performances in Congressional

Graduate School of Systems and Information Engineering   University of Tsukuba        Tennodai 1-1-1 Tsukuba 305-8573 JAPAN
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          Experimental Economics, Microeconomic Theory, Game Theory