What is something that is currently illegal that you would legalize and why?
Gosh, these questions are getting harder and harder to answer.
I’ll cheat, here. What I would like to propose is not currently illegal. What I would like to propose is that the length of copyright go back to its original fourteen years after the death of the creator. Until very recently I had no idea that this was the original term. Currently, for us in Australia, the term is seventy years, and I believe there’s a proposal up at the moment to extend this to ninety years.
I’m trying to learn a lot more about copyright. As a librarian, I’ve learned a bit about it over the years but am finding it a complex and difficult area that takes up a lot of my time, especially when trying to make information available to the people I serve, or trying to explain to them people why they cannot use information the way they might like to. Technology now allows us to share information very quickly and conveniently, and laws that were created to protect print and other materials in an age when transmission was limited are no longer working. Hugh Rundle puts it much better than I do.
Copyright was originally intended to protect the rights of creators, but I wonder how many creators are actually benefitting from copyright these days. Copyright holders are, but they’re often not the people who may have created the works.
Thinking about it, it’s not just the term of copyright I’d like to change. I think the whole thing needs to be rethought. Of course, this is not going to be a simple or painless process, given how many vested interests are involved, and how much money is at stake, when it comes to maintaining the status quo.
And next, while we’re on (potentially) difficult questions: Do you consider yourself a feminist?