The Purpose of Copyright

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Lydia Pallas Loren: The Purpose of Copyright

Copyright permeates our lives and yet, despite its impact on our lives, relatively few people, including lawyers, have sufficient knowledge or understanding of what copyright is. And far too many people, including lawyers, have major misconceptions concerning copyright. These misconceptions are causing a dangerous shift in copyright protection, a shift that threatens the advancement of knowledge and learning in this country.

3 Comments

So what is the purpose of a copyright? I'm studying this right now in Law and Economics and I was just curious as to what your thoughts were...

Oops, missed the link at the top of the article :-)

Constitutionally, the justification for providing copyright (and patent) is to "promote the progress of science and the useful arts." (Art. I 6)

As an economic justification, copyright is a tax on readers in order to pay authors. By providing authors a limited-term monopoly on exploiting their works, authors are able to earn money (by selling copies or licensing various rights of the bundle of rights that is copyright) from their work in order to make new works.

Copyright maximalists argue that a copyright is an absolute property right and that the copyright should not be for a limited term and there are no limits to the extent of the right.

IP restrictors argue that the copyright is currently too broad a right, with too much power to exclude other creative and constructive uses of works.

I tend to agree with the Loren article, that copyright is an important right, but that it should not be construed too broadly to stifle creativity and competition.

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