It was almost a week ago, but public domain day, where works whose intellectual property rights wear off move from monopoly status to open source, came and went. With no results. Yes, you read right, not a single piece of copyrighted material passed into the private domain.
I found the conclusion of that article amusing:
Does all this mean that copyright is a bad system? Of course not. Copyright serves an important purpose in facilitating the creation and distribution of creative works. The basic principles of our copyright system are sound. But studies like the recent Hargreaves Review commissioned by the UK government, empirical comparisons of the availability of copyrighted works and public domain works and recent economic studies of the effects of copyright protection all suggest that lengthy copyright extensions impose costs that far outweigh their benefits. In fact, economists who have modeled the ideal copyright term have uniformly suggested that it should be far shorter than it is right now. Some have suggested that it should be as short as 14 years. And every economic study has concluded that if there are to be copyright term extensions, they should not be retroactive.
In short: “Does this make the system a bad system? No of course not! I mean, it is economically destructive and it gives some people a monopoly that they wouldn’t have in the free market, but hey, it’s what we have so it must be good, right?”
No. There are two principles enshrined in the Constitution that do not mesh well with a truly free market and sound economics. Intellectual property is one of them. For more info, feel free to click the “IP” tag at the end of this post.