Should or will the trend continue of extending the term of copyrights? Why?

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The answer to this depends largely on which group gets its way in the United States.  There are many, particularly in the tech industry, who would like to see copyright protections weakened.  By contrast, people in the entertainment business would like to see copyright protections strengthened.

The entertainment industry is generally very much in favor of strict copyright protections.  This industry makes its money by creating content and selling it.  There is very little incentive for this industry to support copyright reform.

By contrast, the tech industry would typically like to see less in the way of copyright enforcement.  The main reason for this is that they feel that copyrights stifle creativity and innovation.   They feel that there is a benefit to society in reduced copyright protection.  They feel that it would allow them to build of other people’s work, thus pushing the envelope of what is possible more quickly. 

With the tech industry becoming more important for the US as a whole, it seems likely that their point of view will prevail.  They will be more likely to get Congress on their side as they become more and more of a dominant industry in our economy.

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Do you think the trend of extending the term of copyrights should or will continue?

It is hard to say what will happen, and there are different opinions on what should happen.

From the point of view of some people, it is important to keep on extending the terms of copyrights.  This is because they feel that it is important to allow authors to benefit from their work for longer periods of time.  If we do not have long copyright terms, the idea goes, people will not have much of an incentive to innovate.  They will not gain from their works for as long and so will not be as eager to create new works.  This attitude is particularly held among people like those in the music and film industries.

From other people’s points of view, however, it is better to limit the terms of copyrights.  Long copyrights, they argue, reduce innovation and simply encourage rent-seeking.  They prevent other people from building on innovations to make their own new works.  This sort of attitude is particularly prevalent in the technology sector. 

As is so often the case, it is likely that whichever side has more political clout will win.  This is exceedingly difficult to determine which side this will be as both sides are well-financed and generally well-connected.

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