Glide Underground

The Length of Copyright

Articles / PC Games/Hardware/Microsoft
Date: Feb 04, 2014 - 10:40 AM
Another editorial on the length of copyright in the games/computers industry - why have a 95 year term when the medium lasts less than a decade?

Rock, Paper, Shotgun looks it over.

And in more detail... The Followup.

So before we move on to the nuances of the argument, let’s get one thing out of the way: Expressing a desire for a game to enter the public domain, let’s say twenty years after publication, does not in any sense whatsoever suggest a desire for developers to not get paid. I resent having to type this. It’s a bit like finding yourself having to say that you’re not in favour of gruesomely starving children to death because you expressed a thought that they probably shouldn’t get to exclusively eat at McDonald’s. What I am in fact saying is: “developers should get paid for the work they do, and then keep getting paid for the same bit of work, over and over and over for the next twenty years, even though they stopped doing any work related to it many years ago.” It’s not entirely apparent how the two sentiments are being confused.

Well, it is, actually – I’m being facetious. The two are being deliberately conflated by a contingent who find the possibility of cultural artifacts ever returning to the culture that spawned them to be so repellent that they must eliminate anything that treads even close to challenging what they see as their perpetual rights to profit from ancient work. (And let’s be clear here – creators are arguing for perpetual copyright here, far outreaching even the current grasp of the law.)

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