How may we help change copyright laws?

+8 votes

I recently added to Category:Source a Family Genealogy "House of Moncure Genealogy".  This 250 page work was copyrighted in 1976 and limited accessibility is available online.  It is unfortunate that full accessibility is not available online.  The three compilers are now dead. The copyright has been passed on to someone.  I would believe that the purpose of compiling this work would have been to share the knowledge they found with a modicum of public fame and any monetary value to just cover the cost of its production.

With the dawn of the online availability of source, might it be valuable to have original copyright holders to allow early release of the copyright; for example upon the death of all of the authors/compilers.  Does WikiTree have a place in encouraging such change?


in The Tree House by Norm Lindquist G2G6 Mach 5 (55.5k points)

3 Answers

+6 votes
start with campaign to repeal law that extended it from 75 to 95 years
by M Anonymous G2G6 Mach 4 (47.3k points)
+7 votes
What  you want exists, but the "FREE UP COPYRIGHT" is about 80 years in the past. anything over 80  (or so) years old is no longer copyrighted, unless it has been renewed.

There's a reason for this, Authors are jealous of their work. And rightly so.

I dont' want to say this, but I must. Words and phrases are copyrighted, facts are not. If you paraphrase copyrighted material you can use the facts. And then you hold the copyright to your work and can jealously defend it from  copying.
by Tom Bredehoft G2G6 Pilot (194k points)
+3 votes
The real reason that copyrights don't get freed up is that those who are still making money on old copyrighted works have the financial means to and actually do lobby zealously for protective laws.  Those who own the copyrights on old works that are not making money often don't even know they own the copyrights in the works that are not making money. Even if they did know they owned the copyrights, they have neither the interest nor any monetary incentive to take the positive action that is necessary to dedicate their works to the public domain. They can do it if the owners can be found and can be persuaded to take the time and effort to release their copyrights. For years library associations, and to a bit lesser extent, educational institutions, have lobbied for limits to allow the preservation of old works, especially those whose copyright owners are doing nothing to preserve them. The best they have been able to achieve are very very limited protections which allow some research preservation by libraries and archives, but they just do not have the money to compete with lobbyists for the likes of Disney.
by Mary Jensen G2G6 Mach 9 (97.9k points)

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