Creativity isn't one size fits all, so why is copyright?

Google's Bill Patry on market signals and copyright terms.

In a recent video interview, Google’s senior copyright counsel Bill Patry said different types of work require different copyright terms:

“Creativity isn’t one size fits all — books aren’t like movies, sculptures are like poems, emails and business documents aren’t like Harry Potter books. Yet, we treat every single copyrighted work exactly the same way. That doesn’t make sense.

“The evidence in the marketplace shows that different works have a different market expectancy. I think what we need to do is give works the expectancy that they need, but not more … If you look at the renewal records in the copyright office, you’ll find a 15% renewal rate after 28 years, and you’ll find different renewal rates — motion pictures have 75%; books have 7%. I think those are market signals. If copyright is an economic right, it makes sense to look at the market signals to see what the expected market life is for certain works and give them that term.” (Discussed at 5:09)

You can view the entire interview, including Patry’s thoughts on copyright as a tool (1:50) and the root causes of piracy (3:03), in the following video:

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