Let a Thousand Googles Bloom

Lessig argues that” Copyright reform is vital to the spread of culture and information”–since the threat of copyright lawsuits and uncertainty as to copyright ownership for many works may hinder the ability to digitize and put online the millions of books out there, as Google plans to do.

Lessig argues: “The solution is obvious enough: Clean up the copyright system.” He proposes a system where copyrights have to be registered, like patents and federal trademarks, and as copyights used to require, instead of merely being automatically granted as is the case now; and for registration renewals renewed every five years — “a process that today could be made technically quite simple and that would create an accessible database as well as quickly clear away unneeded copyrights.”

These are not bad ideas and would be an improvement; but why does no one suggest an even more obvious “solution”?–abolish federal copyright law. It’s maddening that everyone wants to merely tinker at the edges, and eternally try to keep “fixing” an inherently unfixable mess.


2:15 pm on January 12, 2005