Ars Technica reports on Judge Posner's weblog
, and in particular a recent post on the excessive strength of U.S. copyright and patent law
: "The problem of excessive patent protection is at present best illustrated by the software industry. This is a progressive, dynamic industry rife with invention. But the
conditions that make patent protection essential in the pharmaceutical industry
are absent. Nowadays most software innovation is incremental, created by teams
of software engineers at modest cost, and also ephemeral—most software
inventions are quickly superseded. ... The most serious problem with copyright law is the length of copyright protection, which for most works is now from the creation of the work to 70 years after the author’s death. Apart from the fact that the present value of income received so far in the future is negligible, obtaining copyright licenses on very old works is
difficult because not only is the author in all likelihood dead, but his heirs
or other owners of the copyright may be difficult or even impossible to
identify or find. The copyright term should be shorter."
pointed to a related article on how the patent situation got so out of hand
in the first place.