The music business, in the guise of the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), has decided otherwise. The IFPI claims that the "huge disparity" in copyright terms with the US makes it "hard to do business" here -- funnily enough, Bono used the same argument when the old US system offered less protection than in Europe. You may have heard its heartfelt appeals for social justice: Kenney Jones, of The Who, protesting that extended royalties could usefully pay the school fees; Sir Cliff Richard, furious to be deprived of income "simply because I have outlived the copyright on my sound recordings".Link (Thanks, James!)
Please don't tease. Such half-baked arguments owe more to the short-term financial pressures facing the perma-tanned hipsters running the record labels. They are wilfully ignoring the vital creative role of the public domain in reinvigorating our common culture. Had they been genuinely innovative over the past decade -- beyond discovering Crazy Frog and "girl power" -- the moguls would have noticed that their industry's greatest injections of energy have originated not within their own well-cushioned empires but in the public domain. Remember their aversion to MP3 downloads, now a vast corporate revenue stream? Or the copyright-breaching "mash-ups" -- unauthorised combinations of existing music samples mixed by DJs -- that first attracted music industry writs, and then were worked into Kylie's routine?
I write books. My latest is a YA science fiction novel called Homeland (it's the sequel to Little Brother). More books: Rapture of the Nerds (a novel, with Charlie Stross); With a Little Help (short stories); and The Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow (novella and nonfic). I speak all over the place and I tweet and tumble, too.