For an interesting read about the 300th birthday of copyright, take a look at this excellent post by Thom Holwerda at OS News “Copyright Turns 300 Today.

If only we could turn the clock back to 1710, when works were protected for a term of 14 years, extendable only once.  That’s actually what our copyright terms were when incorporated within the U.S. Constitution — Article 1, Section 8, Clause 8 — in 1787 & in the first U.S. copyright law in 1790.

So where are we now?  Copyright “has metamorphsed from a narrow, short-term exclusive right to print books to a broad bundle of rights lasting for upwards of a century” (Copyright’s Paradox by Neil Weinstock Netanel).  Take a look at this copyright term chart from Tom Bell at Wikipedia:

Expansion of U.S. Copyright Law

Economists have confirmed that copyrights now endure for a time that is essentially “functionally perpetual.”

Even Lawrence Lessig (author of numerous books on copyright) has apparently given up on the possibility that any meaningful changes and/or improvements can be made to current U.S. copyright law.  The deck is just too stacked against it (i.e., extensive lobbying by media conglomerates; an extremely receptive ear in Congress; copyright-friendly courts; and even the President & his administration).

I myself, as many, was mildly optimistic that with the election of a younger, more tech savvy president, that the new administration might see the ludicrousness of current U.S. copyright law.  NOT!!!  Do you realize that President Obama has appointed five RIAA lawyers so far to the Justice Department?  In addition, he has not only openly sided with the RIAA & MPAA, but backs the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA)!

Yes… this is indeed a sad time for copyright , certainly not worthy of any birthday celebration whatsoever.