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The People Who Owned The Bible

One of my favourite authors, Will Shetterly, offers us a parable for our time...

(under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license)
It was time for another Mickey Mouse Copyright Extension to keep Disney's star property out of the public domain. Somebody's nephew had a bright idea. Instead of telling Congress to add the standard twenty years to the length of copyright, why not go for the big time? Extend copyright by 500 years.

Somebody's niece added a smarter reason: A 500 year extension would let Disney track down Shakespeare's heirs and buy all rights to the Bard. No matter how much the heirs wanted, the deal would pay for itself in no time. Every school that ever wanted to perform or study Shakespeare would have to send a check to Disney. Every newspaper or magazine or radio show that wanted to quote the Bard would have to send one, too. So Disney asked, and Congress gave, and the World Intellectual Property Organization followed Congress's example. Disney paid off Shakespeare's heirs, then used the Shakespeare profits to buy all rights from the heirs of Dumas, Dickens, Twain, Mary Shelley, Jane Austen, Bram Stoker and more. Once most of the films in every other studio's library were subject to Disney's copyright, they went bankrupt or became divisions of Disney.
Read on for a copyright farce...


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Jan. 11th, 2005 04:44 am (UTC)
that's fab!

wish I'd been able to reference that when I was writing essays about IPR!
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )