Can anyone justify the enormous disparity between the longevities of patents and copyrights? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? A patent is granted for just one non-extendable period of 20 years following the date of filing of the application, but a copyright may be in effect for up to 95 years -- or maybe even longer -- after first going into effect. As if copyright longevity was not long enough already, the Mickey Mouse (Sonny Bono) Copyright Term Extension Act extended it. Copyright-holders must have a lot of clout to have been able to push through that Act. This disparity between patents and copyrights is especially surprising considering that some patents may be highly commercially valuable forever whereas many copyrights are highly commercially valuable for just a few weeks, a few months, or a few years. Things invented over a century ago are still top sellers -- but how many, say, top-selling books and songs are more than a few months or a few years old?
Right now Yoko Ono is suing
the producers of the movie "Expelled" for using just 15 seconds of John Lennon's song "Imagine" without permission. If "Imagine" had been patented instead of copyrighted, the patent would have expired a long time ago. I hope Loco Bozo Oh-No-No loses the suit. It's past time to cut copyright-holders down to size.
Also, Yoko gets a fortune's worth of free advertising from the 2½-acre Strawberry Fields section of Central Park on land donated by the city (including advertising for "Imagine," whose name is at the center of the Strawberry Fields Memorial) but she is too chintzy to allow a few seconds of fair use of "Imagine" in a movie.
Labels: Yoko Ono lawsuit