Friday Night Topic: A treatise on copyright terms

An economics PhD candidate at Cambridge University has written an interesting paper that attempts to determine the optimal copyright term length. The student argues that the optimal copyright term length falls as the cost of production decreases and also as time passes. With the help of several equations, he pins the ideal term length at about 14 years, which is quite a bit shorter than current standard of the life of the author plus 70 years. This analytical approach to determining an ideal copyright term length seems more reasonable than pulling arbitrary numbers out of the air—regardless of whether they favor content owners or the general public.

What are your thoughts on the issue? Do you think copyright terms should be shortened, or should they exist at all? Discuss.

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