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Who should conservatives side with in the battle between those who favor extended governmental protection for copyrights as the promotion of private property vs. those who believe that too much protection hurts consumers? Steven Tapp makes a strong argument in National Review that we should favor the former:
From the words and deeds of the Founders to the rulings of the Rehnquist and Roberts Courts, it is clear that the American free-market system is designed to promote private-property rights, including copyright, as the best engine of economic growth and freedom of expression.The public domain has its place as a venerable and valuable aspect of copyright law and reasonable people can and do disagree about the best way to write copyright law. But proposals to slash the duration of copyright to expand “public property” simply aren’t conservative.
Tapp is writing in response to a recent proposal by Derek Khanna, self-professed spokesman for conservatives on copyright issues:
In recent decades, a number of special interests called the “copyright lobby” have ensured their copyrighted works would never enter the public domain by keeping their copyright terms continuously elongated. The public-policy goals of this copyright-inflation movement have been in clear violation of the Constitution’s text and its original public meaning.
The recapture of works that would be in the public domain represents one of the biggest thefts of public property in history — and has had significant economic effects upon our culture, personal liberty, and economy.
Where do Ricochet members weigh in? Read both pieces and share your opinions in the comments.